Of the 55 subsequent Supreme Court opinions on Miranda issues, 14 have involved attempts to clarify the meaning of "custody," and in 12 of those 14, the Supreme Court reversed the decisions of state and federal appellate courts, which got it wrong.
In November, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 54th decision on a Miranda issue, in a case called Bobby v. Dixon. This is the third decision on the issue of the admissibility of a suspect's statements obtained after a belated warning and waiver.
The decade of the 1960s gave us four of the most significant cases that apply to our daily work: Mapp, Brady, Miranda, and Terry. These four are among the most prominent criminal law cases you should know more about to understand how we got to where we are.
Given the ever-present risks to your survival, it's important for you to know that in numerous decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has created special rules to allow you to investigate crimes and apprehend suspects without undue restrictions that jeopardize your safety. Being aware of these cases can help you avoid taking chances you don't have to take.
In J.D.B. v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court didn't really clarify the issue of Mirandizing juveniles. Until further issues are litigated, officers should consult policy advisers to obtain guidelines for Mirandizing and interrogating juvenile suspects.
"Interrogation" has been defined by the Supreme Court to include both direct questioning and its "functional equivalent." What does this term mean? Three Supreme Court cases and numerous decisions from the federal appeals court have considered this question.
The Constitution does not forbid you to talk to a person just because that person has an attorney, or just because the attorney tells you not to do it. Instead, the law focuses on whether the suspect is willing to talk without his or her attorney present.
If a suspect wants to assert either his right to counsel or his right to silence, it is up to him to do so, unequivocally and unambiguously.
The genesis of the Miranda warnings can be traced to March 13, 1963, when Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested by officers of the Phoenix Police Department for stealing $4 from a bank worker and for the kidnap and rape of another woman.
Miranda warnings are triggered by a simple formula: Custody + Interrogation = The requirement for Miranda warnings. A motorist is not in "custody" for Miranda purposes when he or she is detained for an ordinary traffic stop.
The Edwards rule applies to all officers and all cases - not just to the case on which the suspect invoked the right to counsel.
One indication of the enduring misunderstanding of the Miranda jurisprudence is the fact that after 44 years, state and federal courts continue to litigate the adequacy of dozens of variations of the particular wording used by officers - and continue to get reversed by the Supreme Court.
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.