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Legal experts weigh in on Hampton's Bigsby case and explain legal rights

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Codi
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Posted at 1:57 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 18:10:56-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – News 3 is talking with legal experts after Monday’s press conference inside the Hampton Police Department raised many questions.

Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot revealed that Cory Bigsby, father of missing 4-year-old Codi Bigsby, did indeed request legal counsel twice the morning after he came to the station. However, Talbot says those requests were not honored at the time.

It wasn’t until a couple of days later when Cory was charged with seven counts of child endangerment that he was given a lawyer, Jeffrey Ambrose.

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Dave Velloney is a professor at the Regent University School of Law. He teaches courses in criminal law. Velloney said, “Clearly, mistakes were made,” but he added it’s rather unusual for a police department to come forward so soon to admit such.

While Velloney is not on the case and hasn’t watched the videos, he believes there must have been no uncertainty whether Cory asked for legal counsel.

“Based on the fact that the police department came out this quickly by saying there were some mistakes made, he must have very clearly requested an attorney. That would be my guess,” said Velloney, who added that law says one must be clear about wanting a lawyer.

Once Cory did that early in the morning, Velloney said, “So, all questioning should have stopped at that point in time.” He added, “Everything before that point is potentially still admissible in court.”

But he says anything after that would be excluded.

“The other thing that could potentially be excluded is any evidence that they come upon as a result of his statements. That’s sometimes that’s called 'fruit of the poisonous tree,'” he said.

However, Velloney feels the case will move forward.

“In this case, it seems to me that law enforcement had a significant amount of evidence before he requested an attorney. And because of that, I don’t believe the case will not be slowed down in a significant manner,” Velloney stated.

Adding that there will be complications.

“I think there will be significant fodder for the defense attorneys to use in this case to make sure law enforcement did everything properly,” Velloney said. “But it seems to me, the investigation will continue.”

Shortly after the press conference on Monday, Ambrose said, “I’m incredibly grateful and proud of our Hampton Police Division today that they went and they reviewed all of those tapes on their own to make sure that there was nothing amiss and when something was, they immediately came forward and made it available to the public.”

Ambrose added that he had yet to review the videos.

The WATER Team Inc's has a plan to search for Codi over the next few days.

Here is when and where they plan to search:

  • Tuesday - Huntington Park, Newport News
  • Wednesday - 4th View in Ocean View, Norfolk
  • Thursday - North King Street, Hampton
  • Friday - BREAK
  • Saturday - Langley, Hampton

Below is a timeline of events in this case:

Click here for more News 3 Investigations.