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Give Miranda warnings just before commencement of apparent custodial police interrogation-not sooner. Leave Hollywood tactics to the actors.
Devallis Rutledge, author of POLICE Magazine's Point of Law articles, discusses what officers need to know about how the Supreme Court's Kansas v. Ventris and Montejo v. Louisiana rulings have affected the way officers must conduct interrogations lawfully under the Sixth Amendment. You can also read the original articles "Sixth Amendment Revisited" from the July 2009 issue and "Sixth Amendment Waivers" from August 2009.
It will now be possible for law enforcement officers to attempt to obtain a waiver and an admissible statement from a defendant without running afoul of the Sixth Amendment.
Because warnings are only required prior to custodial interrogation, one way to minimize the adverse impact of Miranda on investigations is to try to conduct interrogations whenever possible in non-custodial settings.
Quickly gaining rapport and eliciting information from individuals is one of the most valuable tools in law enforcement. Obtaining admissions from suspects solves more cases than all the forensic evidence techniques combined.
In cases involving gang violence, get to the scene quickly, find the witnesses, and document who these witnesses are and what they say. Then if gang members do change their version of events, at least it can be explained why this person did what he or she did.
In your search warrant affidavits, your reports, and your testimony you have to lay out the basis of your suspicions and justify every detention, arrest, search, seizure, entry, and use of force.
Ever since the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Massiah v. U.S., it has been the rule that any statements about a crime that were deliberately elicited from the suspect by a government official or undercover agent, after the Sixth Amendment right to counsel had “attached” and been asserted, could not be used at trial to prove guilt.
In many cases, two or more crooks commit crimes together. When you catch them, you'll generally do your best to get admissible confessions from them. Arresting multiple suspects can actually give you better chances to obtain statements.
One of the most troublesome legal issues in law enforcement is the question of when an officer may resume discussions with a suspect after some kind of Miranda "history" has occurred. The answer is, "It all depends."
In many instances, the suspect in a cold case turns out to be someone who is serving time for another crime. What are the considerations for conducting custodial interrogation of such a prisoner, insofar as Miranda and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel are concerned?
It might be nice if law enforcement officers never had to lie to a criminal suspect in order to solve a crime. In fact, some police advisors do suggest to officers that they should never mislead a suspect. Unfortunately, the reality is otherwise.
When custodial interrogation is imminent and it's time to give the suspect a Miranda warning, what exactly do you have to say? The answer is, nothing exactly. The U.S. Supreme Court, which created the necessity of a warning of rights and a waiver as prerequisites to the prosecutorial use of a statement obtained through custodial interrogation, has never held that any precise wording is required.
Once a custodial suspect has been given Miranda warnings, there are three basic options he can choose to exercise: (1) waive his rights and agree to talk, (2) invoke his right to remain silent, or (3) invoke his right to counsel. The suspect’s response determines whether, and under what circumstances, he can later be re-approached by law enforcement officers to obtain an admissible statement.