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Miranda warning given during police interview makes confession admissible

March 11, 2014

A defendant’s confession made during a police interrogation is admissible because while officers questioned the defendant in what they called a “pre-interview,” they Mirandized him before he confessed.

The defendant, Robert Hicks, appealed his conviction of murder and 55-year sentence for the death of girlfriend Anna Jochum. He claimed the admission he made of striking and then stabbing Jochum should have been suppressed, in part, because the police engaged in a “question-first, Mirandize-later” approach to his interrogation.

Hicks pointed to Missouri V. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004) where the Supreme Court of the United States threw out statements police obtained by using an interrogation technique where they  purposefully withheld Miranda warnings until after the suspect had confessed. Then they Mirandized the defendant and got a second, similar admission of guilt.

Although Indiana courts have applied Seibert to situations in which a Miranda advisement was given after a defendant confessed, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that is not what happened to Hicks.

He agreed to accompany officers to the police station and answer their questions. When he admitted to having been in an argument with Jochum, officers read Hicks his Miranda rights. He then provided more details about the argument and his actions. In an interview the next day, before which he was again Mirandized, he talked more.

The Court of Appeals held Siebert did not apply because Hicks confessed after being read his Miranda rights. It affirmed his conviction and sentence in Robert E. Hicks v. State of Indiana, 82A01-1306-CR-256.

 
 
 

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