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  • Miranda clarification, please

    Quick and brief as I can make this.

    Suspect arrested on outstanding warrant for failure to appear. Processed. Not mirandized because no one was going to interrogate him...it was a warrant from another jurisdiction.

    Okay. Suspect is about finished when a Detective walks in, greets him, and says to him that she wants to talk about something unrelated to the reason he's in custody at the moment. He says okay.

    They finished processing him. Detective takes him to a room next door. Subject is handcuffed of course. He greets her by name and she says, "I'm not going to read you miranda because I'm not talking about anything related to why you're under arrest today" (He was a witness in a serious assault that occurred seven days earlier and the Detective wanted to hear from him why one woman stabbed the other).

    Was she right or wrong? And no, this wasn't me. I heard this the other day and it made Miranda flip flop in my head for a few.
    sigpic

    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

  • #2
    He's a witness to another crime, not the suspect in the crime...no reason to mirandize him concerning that. Only if in relation to a crime he has committed or been arrested for, or believed to have committed.
    Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat

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    • #3
      Here's my issue with it. I know the suspect is at the top of a local gang. I also know that the location in which the assault between the two girls occurred is a "problem area" and I had reason to believe that while discussing the true issue, the Detective wasn't going to be able to resist a question or two that, if answering truthfully, the arrestee would have incriminated himself...IE-why were you there that night? Or "Do you live in that area" or "Who were you with that night?" because the answer to any of those three would connect him to ongoing cases in which he IS the suspect and we just don't have enough yet to put him there. Now. I am NOT suggesting the Detective had the intention of moving the topic around to that, but it happens and I knew it was going to...and it did. He refused to answer those questions, but in doing so, brought to my mind that you're tap dancing on Miranda at that point, no?
      sigpic

      I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is no need to admonish persons regarding their constitutional rights when you're about to question them as a witness.

        If the subject is not in custody on a charge related to the incident you are investigating, it is probably unnecessary to admonish them. The exception would be if there's a possibility the incidents are related or the suspect brings up factors relevent to his arrest.

        Just a little previous experience:
        I went to a state prison to interview a convicted felon who passed the word that he wanted to talk to me about an attempted murder unrelated to the offense for which he was convicted. I told him I wasn't going to read him his rights because I believed he may have been a witness who had something to tell me. He admitted being involved in an attempted murder, provided extensive details and when I asked if he'd been involved in anything else he made very incriminating statements regarding involvement in an uncharged triple murder. All his statements to me were admissible (in CA) during the subsequent murder and attempted murder trial (Judge Lance Ito presiding) and he is now on death row. Per Judge Ito: If he didn't want to talk to the investigator, he shouldn't have done so. He wasn't in custody for anything associated with the (new) crimes and wasn't compelled to make a statement.
        "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pulicords View Post
          If the subject is not in custody on a charge related to the incident you are investigating, it is probably unnecessary to admonish them. The exception would be if there's a possibility the incidents are related or the suspect brings up factors relevent to his arrest.
          You know how it is at the PD...someone brings something up and the next thing you know, you've got Miranda turned upside down and everybody is gettin' heated about it...LOL

          The part I quoted up there is the reason that I told the group discussion that I would have mirandized him from the get go. Knowing his history (as I did and as did the Detective) and knowing the location of the assault (as we both did) and knowing full well there are a few open cases in which he is the suspect (they are HER cases), I felt that to err on the side of caution, I would have mirandized him from the beginning because I don't know that I could have spoken to him about the witness aspect w/o incriminating evidence coming up about the others active cases.

          Which brings about another question (you knew it would)...if you haven't mirandized him because he's a witness and then he starts incriminating himself and you are still asking questions, should you stop and mirandize him when the conversation turns?
          sigpic

          I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't forget that the "Miranda" decision isn't a law, it's the Supreme Court's attempt at providing a means of showing that the statement was willingly made at the time of arrest (a coercive environment). By having the officers demonstrate that the suspect knew his rights and choose to waive them, the statement is more clearly shown as being truthful. The 5th Amendment prohibits coerced statements against self-interest, it doesn't prohibit all statements against self-interest.
            "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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            • #7
              Miranda doesnt even appy if the person is a witness, but you are right in one aspect, if the guy admits to wrong doing it may be considered a "spontanious utterance" but try selling that to a liberal judge. Nothing wrong with mirandizing the whole room if it makes you feel better. They actually need to do away with that stupid rule anyway. My eight year old knows her miranda rights from tv.
              "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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              • #8
                One of the biggest problems I see with new investigators (and new officers in general) is the rush to arrest and/or admonish someone regarding their constitutional rights. There are numerous circumstances where the admonishment isn't necessary and to routinely provide it limits the amount of cooperation we receive and (IMO) leads to unnecessary expectations on the part of jurors and other uninformed citizens. Taking advanced courses on Interview/Interrogation will help clear up a lot of misconceptions regarding the "Miranda" decision, in addition to providing good tactical training for obtaining truthful, but incriminating statemtents.
                "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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                • #9
                  I defenitely need to take some serious interview classes.

                  My take is: when in doubt, whip it out. It won't hurt your case in court if you Mirandize, but if you don't ...... it could.
                  Space for rent .........

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scratched13 View Post
                    I defenitely need to take some serious interview classes.

                    My take is: when in doubt, whip it out. It won't hurt your case in court if you Mirandize, but if you don't ...... it could.
                    Take the classes. You will find them incredibly enlightening. Prematurely making an arrest and/or admonishing persons regarding their constitutional rights frequently result in lost cases. When statements are essential for a case and a suspect (frightened by the "Miranda" warnings decides to invoke his right to remain silent) fails to provide sufficient evidence necessary for a filing, the case won't even make it to court.

                    The immediate "fallout" from this decision had LE running scared for years, because they didn't understand the application and overall intent of the court. Watching old reruns of Dragnet or Adam 12 shows demonstrate how important it's been to have clarification. There are a huge number of circumstances which negate the need for the warning and knowing what these are provides LE with tools necessary to successfully do our job, without violating the defendants' 5th Amendment rights.
                    "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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                    • #11
                      I guess you could split hairs on interogate and interview. And yes a liberal judge will toss it. I try to build some kind of bs raport with them and then just throw the miranda out there as "SOP" You don't have to tell them they're a target of a different investigation and we can still lie to them too!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
                        Which brings about another question (you knew it would)...if you haven't mirandized him because he's a witness and then he starts incriminating himself and you are still asking questions, should you stop and mirandize him when the conversation turns?
                        That one is easy: absolutely. Miranda is intended to protect a person from giving evidence against himself without knowing that he has a right not to do so. So long as he's giving evidence about someone else, and he's not putting himself in peril, there's no Fifth Amendment issue. But the moment that he says something that might incriminate him, Miranda attaches, and you had better either give him the admonition or cease questioning him immediately (assuming you want his answers to ever do you any good).

                        Here's the example I used to use in class: You go to John Doe's workplace to question him about his knowledge of a robbery. Doe is not a suspect in the robbery or any other crime of which you are aware. Doe is not wanted on any charges, and as far as you are concerned, if he was to stop answering questions and walk away from you, all you could do is wave goodbye. You are questioning him because he is an associate of the prime suspect, and you think he may have discussed the crime with the suspect.

                        During your questioning, Doe makes reference to information that only someone present at the crime scene would know - say, the words used by the suspect to threaten the victim. The context is such that you are now considering that Doe isn't just a witness - he's the robber. At the moment that you decide that Doe isn't going to be allowed to walk away if he chooses, your interview has become a custodial interrogation. It doesn't matter if Doe doesn't know this (yet) - the governing factor is that you, as the LE officer, knows it. Everything that Doe said up until that moment is still admissible, but if you want to continue the questioning, you must immediately administer the Miranda warning. If Doe asks if he is under arrest, you can truthfully say "no" if you don't think you have adequate probable cause for an arrest at that moment. Doe is the subject of an investigative detention (in essence, a Terry stop), which requires only reasonable suspicion. If he keeps running his mouth, and gives you enough for PC, then you can bust him. Just remember that as long as you're only at the investigative detention stage, you can't move Doe without his consent.
                        Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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                        • #13
                          If I went to interview him as a witness I would not Mirandize. However if he started making incriminating statements I would first let him roll on his own as long as possible. Frequently we are our own worst enemies in interviews/interogations by not just sitting back and letting people ramble on. Most people hate silence, if you just sit there when they finish a sentence, alot of times they will just continue on without you needing to ask a question because the silence is unnerving to them. Once I wanted to ask a question I would Mirandize. There are a lot of great ways to do so without making it sound like your targeting him, but your personal experience, how the interview is going, and a few other things will give you the best way to breach that subject while not shutting him down.
                          Today's Quote:

                          "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                          Albert Einstein

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                          • #14
                            Tim, given the example that you just did, it was my understanding that the Officer's unarticulated knowledge is not relevent. When you're conducting an interview on someone and they are not in custody, you can ask questions w/o giving Miranda as long as a reasonable person in the suspect's position wouldn't have believed they were under arrest "or it's functional equivalant". (referencing Farb, Chapter 5, based on Berkemer v.McCarty).

                            Puli, I have PLI coming up next month. Most of the time, I feel like I have a good handle on Miranda (strange sentence in itself, that is...) but then something will come up that gets my wheels to turning and it starts becoming muddled. I don't blanket the miranda warnings...never have...
                            sigpic

                            I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Miranda Clarification.

                              The classes and updates that I attended on Miranda advised: When the investigation moves from the inquisitory to the accusatory stage, the subject must be given a Miranda Warning. (court language). A subject who suddenly blurts out " Yah, I killed her", or makes some other unprompted admission of guilt, makes a "Res-Gestae" (spelling?) statement. It can be used against him even though a Miranda Warning was not given. Smurf's question is a good one. The simple answer would seem to be, that as long as a subject was being questioned solely as a witness, a Miranda Warning wouldn't be required. If the questioning rocked around to where your guy could reasonably be considered a suspect, yeah, we've got to give him the warning.

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