Litigating Miranda Rights

AuthorDeja Vishny
CHAPTER 10: 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.
I. The Law of Miranda Rights
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.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you at public expense.
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
acceptable. Florida v. Powell, 559 U.S. 50 (2010).
§10:02 Purpose of Warnings
The purpose of giving a person Miranda warnings is to protect against the overwhelming coercive power of custodial
interrogation. As the Miranda           
stratagems described above, the very fact of custodial interrogation exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty and
trades on the weakness of individuals.” The court recognized that interrogative coercion could be mental as well as
physical. 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.
RIGHTS 10-2§10:04
Miranda also requires that the interrogator be a law enforcement agent or someone acting at the behest of law
enforcement. Warnings are not required when a suspect is questioned by a relative acting on their own without
“scripting, 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 was violated when an
off-duty deputy sheriff held a suspect so the victim’s husband could interrogate him. 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
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, 451 U.S. 454(1981). Un-Mirandized statements may not be used against a defendant in the penalty phase of
a capital trial.
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 evidence.
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.
Practice Pointer: Miranda
Miranda          
Miranda warnings are required in order for
a statement to be admissible in court. However, since suspects are generally questioned by
by your client and does not mention your client was Mirandized
 Miranda warnings because it is not his
job to take 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-in-
    Harris v. New York, 401
U.S. 222 (1971). This differs from statements which are held to be involuntary and cannot be used in court under
any circumstances. See Chapter 11, Suppressing Involuntary Confessions.
There is no federal constitutional right to suppress derivative evidence, such as physical evidence derived after a
statement taken in violation of 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 either formally arrested or has suffered a “’restraint on freedom of movement’ of the degree associated with a
formal arrest.” California v. Beheler
jail; it can 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 shock that very often accompanies arrest, since prison is where the person lives; (2) a prisoner
is unlikely to be lured into speaking because he hopes for prompt release after questioning; and (3) a prisoner, unlike
           
probably lack the authority to affect the duration of his sentence. The court noted that the prisoner in 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
interrogation is conducted.
When police question a suspect who is immobilized for reasons unrelated to police action, such as being unable 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
In determining whether a person is “in custody,” the question is whether, under the totality of the circumstances, a
reasonable person in the defendant’s position would have felt “at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave.”
Thompson v. Keohane, 516 U.S. 99, 112 (1995). In making this determination, the sole issue is how a reasonable
person 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 the defendant was handcuffed;
Whether a gun was drawn on the defendant;
Whether a Terry frisk was performed;
Whether the defendant was moved to another location;
Whether the questioning took place in a police vehicle; and
 

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT