Did you attend any events related to National Police Week this year?
Officers on the job before 1966 knew that the right to remain silent was guaranteed by the Constitution, but no officer from that era ever thought it was his job to remind offenders of their rights. That changed with the arrest of Ernesto Miranda in March 1963 and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that followed.
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.
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.
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.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys may now seek to maintain lawsuits against officers and their agencies for eliciting incriminating statements from a defendant in certain situations.
Law enforcement officers are quite familiar with the court-created "right" to counsel established by the Miranda opinion, to protect the Fifth Amendment trial privilege against compelled self-incrimination. But it applies only during police custodial interrogation.
Hearsay rules confound police, lawyers, and judges alike. "Hearsay" is a statement made outside the courtroom that might be true or false, repeated in court to prove that it was true.
Miranda, Miranda, Miranda. Sometimes, we spend so much time on this one aspect of interrogation law that we tend to forget there are three other constitutional tests of admissibility of a suspect's statement.