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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Point of Law

Non-Custodial Stationhouse Interrogations

How to talk to suspects without Mirandizing.

January 01, 2009  |  by Devallis Rutledge - Also by this author

Stansbury v. California

After a 10-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped, and murdered, sheriff's homicide investigators contacted Robert Edward Stansbury as a possible witness to her disappearance. Stansbury agreed to come in and he accepted a ride to the station in a patrol car. He was not given Miranda warnings before he gave answers that indicated he was the likely perpetrator, after which he was arrested.

Although the California Supreme Court believed Stansbury was in custody as soon as suspicion focused on him, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected this erroneous standard for determining custody. The court ruled that Stansbury's interrogation was not custodial, and Miranda did not apply to his stationhouse questioning prior to arrest.

Thompson v. Keohane

Alaskan hunters discovered the body of Dixie Thompson. ,Her husband Carl was asked by state troopers to come to the station, ostensibly to identify her things. In fact, the troopers already suspected Thompson of murder. He drove to the station, where troopers assured him he was not under arrest and then questioned him without warnings for two hours. Thompson admitted killing Dixie, but the troopers allowed him to leave the station. Two hours later, they arrested him.

Thompson was convicted of murder, and appeals took him to the U.S. Supreme Court. On a procedural issue, the court sent his case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to decide the custody issue in light of the rulings in Mathiason, Beheler, and Stansbury. The lower courts then ruled that Thompson had not been in custody when he admitted the killing and did not need to have been Mirandized.

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