The Idaho Court of Appeals just recently ruled in favor of a Hailey, Idaho man saying that his Miranda rights were violated.
The facts of the case are that in 2014, Hailey Police stopped an individual in his vehicle for an unknown reason. During the traffic stop it was discovered that there was an arrest warrant for the individual.
Prior to his arrest this individual told the officers that he didn’t have anything on him relating to drugs or drug use.
As officers were patting him down they found a methamphamine pipe. This individual was handcuffed, and the officer told this person “I thought you said you didn’t have anything on you.” The individual then told officers that the pipe was his.
The Court of Appeals ruled this individual had previously denied having anything on him, the officer should have known that his statement was reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.
The Court ruled that this was a violation of Miranda and suppressed the statement.
This is just one example of an officer obtaining a statement and or confession illegally.
The most common violation is that of interviewing someone telling them that they are not under arrest and can leave at any time. This is usually followed with a statement by the officer explaining that this is just a routine thing and down playing the importance of the interview.
The officer then claims that the statement was made voluntarily.
Miranda is not required if someone gives a statement freely and voluntarily.
There are things you need to know about Law Enforcement and interviews/confessions.
Whether a statement is voluntary or involuntary depends upon the totality of the circumstances surrounding the interview/interrogation.
The State must prove that the confession was voluntary and contained specific information relating the specific crime.
What this means is that the State must prove that the person providing the statement must have knowledge that only a person involved in the crime would know.
Usually this is provided in two types of corroboration. The first is independent Corroboration.
Independent Corroboration is information of the crime that has not been published to the media, public and the person who is being interviewed.
The second being Rational Corroboration, this includes statements accepting personal responsibility for committing the crime and a detailed statement of how the crime was committed.
The statement/confession must be made voluntarily. The state must prove that no threats, promises, either direct or implied, or violence was used to obtain the confession.
Just recently I reviewed a case that a subject was told he would go to prison for an extended period of time if he didn’t tell law enforcement what they wanted to know.
This is an example of the use of threats and coercion.
The length of the interview is another factor the Courts review to determine if the statement/confession was made voluntarily.
There are numerous cases where the length of time has been argued. As for the length of time, no guide line has been set, again this is a case of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the interrogation/interview.
Some of the factors used in determining voluntariness, is the subject mental state, education of the person and whether breaks were given.
What if you don’t want to be interviewed?
Sometimes the police may tell you that you need to go the station and make a statement and or speak with them.
If you are a suspect or believed to have been involved in a crime it is best to consult with an attorney first, or have one with you when you go to be interviewed.
You are not denying an interview with Law Enforcement you are just requesting time to review what type of situation you might be in, or what the consequences could be with a person that has a legal background and can advise you properly.
Remember that Law Enforcement is working under the direction of a Prosecutor and or District Attorney.
In serious cases, they are usually on site directing the interview questions. In several of the past cases I have reviewed, the States Attorney was directing the Law Enforcements questions to the person being interviewed.
You should be aware of the following if you do agree to speak with Law Enforcement:
If you make a statement it will be documented and you can’t take it back.
You will probably be nervous during the interview, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. You may not understand what is being asked of you and answer incorrectly.
You may believe that you are being questioned about one specific charge or incident but what you say may lead to a different, more serious charge.
If you agree to be interviewed it may not hurt you, but it usually doesn’t help you.
Law Enforcement doesn’t have to tell you the truth about what they know about the crime.
Once you’re in the presence Law Enforcement it is difficult to leave. It is just human nature.