Litigating Miranda Rights

AuthorDeja Vishny
Litigating Miranda Rights
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects individuals from compulsory self-incrimination.
This has given rise to both the protections against coerced confessions and those under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S.
436 (1966). Other amendments and bodies of law created the doctrine that only voluntary confessions can be introduced
as evidence in state criminal court proceedings and that statements can’t be used in violation of the right to counsel
under the Sixth Amendment. This chapter will address litigating Fifth Amendment and Miranda rights issues, as well
as suppressing statements for violating the Sixth Amendment. Chapters 10 and 11 will discuss voluntariness and other
grounds for suppressing confessions.
A. Governing Principles
§10:01 Substance of Warnings
Miranda warnings must be given to anyone being questioned by law enforcement whenever that person is in
custody. The requirement of the warnings was held to be constitutional in Dickerson v. U.S., 530 U.S. 428 (2000). The
classic Miranda warnings are:
1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say can be held against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to have an attorney before or during any questioning.
 
time or exercise any of these rights at any time.
The exact language of Miranda warnings varies from one jurisdiction to another. There is no requirement that the
warnings must include the exact language from the Miranda decision; a variation that conveys these basic rights is accept-
able. Florida v. Powell
willing to answer any questions without having an attorney present?” after telling him that he couldn’t have a lawyer until
after he went to court, the court held the waiver invalid. Robinson v. United States, 142 A.3d 565, 572 (D.C. App. 2016).
§10:02 Purpose of Warnings
The purpose of giving a person Miranda warnings is to protect against the overwhelming coercive power of cus-
todial interrogation. As the Miranda
stratagems described above, the very fact of custodial interrogation exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty and trades
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. at 455.
Miranda warnings are not required when a suspect is out of custody while they are questioned, regardless of whether
the person being questioned is the focus of an investigation. Beckwith v. United States, 425 U.S. 341 (1976). This includes
questioning by a probation agent. Minnesota v. Murphy, 465 U.S. 420 (1984). The only exception occurs when the person
being questioned is charged with the crime that is the subject of the interview. Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 US 778 (2009).
§10:03 Custodial Interrogation by Law Enforcement
Miranda    
   
Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292 (1990). However, this is subject to the
requirements of the Sixth Amendment. See §12:25, et seq.
Miranda also requires that the interrogator be a law enforcement agent or someone acting at the behest of law
ing, guidance or encouragement from the police.” Graham v. United States, 950 A.2d 717,735 (D.C. C.A. 2008); U.S.
ex rel. Church v. DeRobertis, 771 F.2d 1015 (7th Cir.1985). However Miranda
Wilson v. O’Leary, 895 F.2d 378 (7th Cir. 1990).
When coercive statements by police prompted a co-actor to urge a suspect to cooperate with police, the court found
 Miranda warning should have be administered prior to questioning. Broom v.
United States, 118 A.3d 207, 215 (D.C. Ct. App. 2015).
When the police interrogate a person multiple times, renewed Miranda warnings need not be given at the outset of each
interrogation. Maguire v. United States, 396 F.2d 327 (9th Cir. 1968). Nonetheless, a lengthy passage of time (seven days)
before a subsequent interrogation may require a fresh set of warnings. State v. DeWeese, 582 S.E.2d 786 (W. Va. 2003).
Miranda warnings are required prior to a court-ordered pretrial psychiatric interview for competency. Estelle v. Smith,
Miranda warnings are required during custodial interrogations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
U.S. v. Mahmood, 415 F. Supp. 2d 13 (D. Mass. 2006).
§10:04 Burden of Proof
Federal law requires that the prosecution has to prove compliance with Miranda by a preponderance of the evi-
dence. Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 168 (1986). However, some states hold that their constitution requires the
prosecution to prove compliance with Miranda beyond a reasonable doubt, see for example State v. Knights, 482 A.2d
436 (ME. 1984), State v. Gravel, 601 A.2d 678 (N.H. 1992) and Commonwealth v. Day, 444 N.E.2d 384 (Mass. 1983).
Practice Pointer
Miranda    
 Miranda warnings are required in order for a statement to be admissible in
   
refers to a statement made by your client and does not mention your client was Mirandized
a statement regarding the alleged crime, and the statement will be suppressed.
§10:05 Scope of the Suppression Remedy
When police fail to comply with Miranda and read the warnings, the statement is suppressed for the state’s case-
  Harris v. New York, 401
circumstances. See Chapter 11, Suppressing Involuntary Confessions.
There is no federal constitutional right to suppress derivative evidence, such as physical evidence derived after
Miranda. United States v. Patane, 542 U.S. 630 (2004). However, some states have
applied the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine under their state constitutions and excluded evidence derived after an
intentional violation of Miranda. State v. Knapp, 2005 WI 127 (Wis. 2005); State v. Farris, 849 N.E.2d 985(Ohio 2006);
State v. Peterson, 923 A.2d 585 (Vt. 2007).
B. Custody
 
§10:06 Restraint on Freedom of Movement
The Miranda    
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. at 444. A person is in custody for purposes of Miranda if that person is
arrest.” California v. Beheler
occur at any location, including in one’s home. Orozco v. Texas, 394 U.S. 324 (1969).
Serving a term of imprisonment, without more, is not enough to create a custodial situation within the meaning of
Miranda. Howes v. Fields, 132 S. Ct. 1181 (2012). In Howes, police did not read Miranda rights before they questioned
a prison inmate about a crime unrelated to the sentence he was serving. The court held that Miranda warnings were not
required for the following reasons: (1) questioning a person who is already serving a prison term does not involve the
 
  
Howes was told that he was free to leave the
interrogation and return to his cell whenever he wanted, and he was not physically restrained while questioned.
The Court did not rule out that Miranda warnings might be required in some situations where police are questioning
an inmate. The Court stated that the determination of custody should focus on all of the features of the interrogation,
including the language that is used in summoning the prisoner to the interview and the manner in which the interro-
gation is conducted.
  
to leave a hospital, this does not render a person in custody for Miranda purposes. People v. Vasquez, 913 N.E.2d 60,
65 (Ill. 2009); State v. Jackson, 40 A.3d 290 (Conn. 2012).
§10:07 Objective, Reasonable Person Standard
    
Thompson v. Keohane
in the suspect’s position would have understood his situation. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 442 (1984).
In State v. Gruen, 582 N.W.2d 728 (Wisc. Ct. App. 1998), the court listed the following factors as relevant to the
totality of the circumstances analysis:
The defendant’s freedom to leave the scene;
The purpose, place and length of the interrogation;
The degree of restraint;
The manner in which the defendant was restrained;
 
Whether a gun was drawn on the defendant;
 
Whether the defendant was moved to another location;
 
 
as a fellow inmate was not required to give Miranda
could elicit an incriminating response. Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292 (1990). Similarly, when a suspect appears at
a police station voluntarily and is interrogated, he is not in custody for Miranda purposes, even when there is an out-
standing arrest warrant of which he is unaware. Mosher v. State, 584 N.W.2d 553 (Wisc. Ct. App. 1998).
   
irrelevant to the assessment whether the person is in custody. Stansbury v. California, 511 U.S. 318 (1994) (per curiam).
For example, in Brown v. State
     
   
     
being questioned. Id. at 325.
the defendant’s home and questioned him for an hour without reading him the Miranda warnings, the court suppressed
    

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