A statement that implicates a suspect will not always be considered a custodial confession that is entitled to Fourth Amendment protection, and the amount of Fourth Amendment protection will depend on the degree of law enforcement involvement. There are three ways a suspect can confess makes an admission with no interrogation, make an admission without being in custody, and submit to custodial interrogation.
A person is in custody only if he has been formally arrested, or a reasonable person would believe that his freedom of movement was restrained to the degree associated with a formal arrest. Unless a suspect is under arrest, he need not be given any warning before he is interviewed by police, regardless of whether he is suspected of criminal activity or not. Both the officers subjective intentional and the suspects subjective views are irrelevant. Failure to give a suspect Miranda warnings does not require suppression of the physical fruits of the suspects unwarned but voluntary statements.
Interrogation is any speech or conduct by law enforcement concerning past criminal conduct that is reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect. Interrogation requires actual questioning of the suspect by an officer or agent of law enforcement, but it does not include questions normally associated with procedures of arrest or custody, like booking questions. Without both elements, custody and interrogation, Fourth Amendment requirements for taking statements do not apply. Admissions made by a suspect outside the context of custody or interrogation are admissible under an exception of hearsay to the hearsay rule (admission of party opponent) A defendants statements made and recorded while he is in a squad care or phone call made from a police station are not protected by the Fourth Amendment, because the defendant has no legitimate expectation of privacy in either place.
In Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court held that in order for confessions resulting from custodial interrogation to be presumptively voluntary, officers must first give the defendant specific warnings about their constitutional rights and obtain a waiver of those rights. To assure voluntary confessions and protect against compelled self incrimination, Miranda must be delivered after custody and before interrogation, and police must respect suspect’s invocation of their rights to silence or to counsel. The second part of Miranda, is that if a defendant indicates he wishes to remain silent or requests counsel, the interrogation must cease, although not necessarily permanently.
To invoke these rights, a suspect must unambiguously assert them. The suspect must articulate his desire to have counsel present sufficiently clearly that a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney. Where a suspect is less than clear about whether he is invoking any of his rights, the police have no duty to ask clarifying questions. If the suspect is not in custody, police are not required to terminate an interview when the defendant requests counsel. This requirement of sufficiently clear articulation applies with equal vigor to the right to remain silent. A suspect wishing to obtain the benefit of the right to silence must remain mute or affirmatively invoke his right.
An involuntary confession is always inadmissible, even for impeachment purposes, but a voluntary statement by the defendant even if was taken in violation ofMiranda, will be admissible as a prior inconsistent statement if the defendant testifies contrary to the statement. Confessions that are voluntary but were taken without the following statutory guidelines can still be useful in forfeiture proceedings, to impeach the defendant, or to establish probable cause for the search or arrest warrants for the defendant and accomplices.
Invocation of Rights
A defendant has the rights to counsel, to remain silent, and to stop questioning. But to invoke these rights, a suspect must unambiguously assert them. In the context of the right to counsel the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the suspect must articulate his desire to have counsel present sufficiently clearly that a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.
This requirement of sufficiently clear articulation applies with equal vigor to the right to remain silent. Where a suspect is less than clear about whether he is invoking any of his rights, the police have no duty to ask clarifying questions.
Right to Counsel Fifth Amendment
Generally, the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment right to counsel is personal to the accused. If the suspect is not in custody, police are not required to terminate an interview when the defendant requests counsel. A suspect who has stopped interrogation by invoking the right to counsel may restart the interrogation by initiating contact with police. A suspect’s invocation of his right to counsel must be clear and unambiguous, and the suspect must express a clear desire to speak to an attorney.
The Sixth Amendment
The Sixth Amendment right to counsel applies to all critical stages of the criminal process, whether an accused is in custody or not. The Sixth Amendment applies in two situations not covered by the Fifth Amendment first, outside of custody and, second, during undercover questioning. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches at or after the ignition of adversary judicial criminal proceedings. In contrast to the Fifth Amendment right to counsel, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is offense specific, attaching in a prosecution for a particular offense, it applies to that prosecution alone. Once it is triggered, the right to counsel embraces any conduct, even uncharged, that is the same offense. The Sixth Amendment prohibits using self incriminating statements against a defendant when officers have deliberately elicited the statements after the defendant has been indicted and in the absence of his attorney.
Right to Remain Silent
Once a suspect invokes his right to silence, questioning cannot begin or must cease immediately. After police have administered the Miranda warnings to a defendant in custody, a statement acquired by them is not admissible at trial unless the suspect also waived his rights. The waiver must be voluntary, knowing, and intelligent.
Dallas criminal lawyer Constantine Anagnostis dedicates his practice to people who are facing criminal charges, with a primary emphasis on DWI, Drug Offenses, Expunction & Nondisclosure Agreements, and Occupational Driver’s License Issues. Dallas criminal lawyer Constantine G. Anagnostis understands the law, procedures, and penalties pertaining to criminal law, and will aggressively fight to protect your rights. You may call 817-229-0319 to schedule a free consultation, or submit a sample case form. At DFW Criminal Lawyers, L.L.C., we look forward to helping you.