People often get confused about Miranda – what it does and when its needed? In short, officers are required to read suspects their Miranda rights anytime the take the person into “custody” and “interrogate” them. In cases where Miranda is not given, when it should have been, the Court should throw out STATEMENTS and any evidence flowing from those statements.
What the Court will no do is INVALIDATE the ARREST in its entirety. Stated another way, just because you should have been read your Miranda, and you weren’t, does not mean your charge goes away. It means that evidence obtained after Miranda should have been read gets thrown out. So, for instance, if a suspect makes a confession after being taken into custody and interrogated, without Miranda, the confession will be thrown out. But the video showing the suspect committing the crime obtained from security cameras is still fair game.
Recently, the Court of Appeals demonstrated just how hard it is for you to be in “custody,” which would trigger the Miranda requirement. In the Case of Commonwealth v. McCray, the Court held that a suspect was not in custody even though he was detained by multiple officers for 30 to 40 minutes. Despite the Court acknowledging that the suspect’s “freedom of movement was restrained,” that restrain “took place pursuant to an investigative stop that was based on reasonable suspicion that the defendant was involved in larceny.”
The Court went on to say that the suspect was not physically restrained despite being ordered to remain in his vehicle and told that the was “not free to leave.” The suspect was also subjected to a pat-down search.
It seems to me that the Court’s reasoning holds too tight the meaning of custody and now limits the meaning of that term to a literal arrest. It also, in my view, will lead to more aggressive interrogation by law enforcement “pre-arrest.”
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James S. Abrenio