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IBA: Interrogations - Indiana to Provide More Safeguards; SCOTUS Takes Some Away

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Bell James Bell
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By James J. Bell and Meaghan E. Klem, Bingham McHale LLP

The effective date of Rule 617 of the Indiana Rules of Evidence is only a couple of weeks away. Rule 617 provides procedural safeguards for suspects in “Custodial Interrogation in a Place of Detention.” Rule 617 prohibits the admission of a statement of a defendant “[i]n a felony prosecution, . . . unless an Electronic Recording of the statement was made, preserved, and is available at trial.” While this Rule has several exceptions, its safeguards provide assurances that evidence of a suspect’s statements will be accurate when admitted at trial.

While the Supreme Court of Indiana is adding procedural safeguards to police interrogations, during its last term, the Supreme Court of the United States chipped away at a suspect’s Miranda rights. As shown below, in Florida v. Powell, Maryland v. Shatzer, and Berghuis v. Thompkins, the Court diminished the government’s burden in complying with Miranda and made it more difficult for a defendant to invoke his Miranda rights.

In Florida v. Powell, 130 S. Ct. 1195 (2010), the defendant was arrested and, prior to being interrogated, was read the police department’s “Consent and Release” form. This form warned the defendant that he had the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of the officers’ questions and that if he could not afford a lawyer, one would be appointed before questioning. He was further told that he had the right to assert any of those rights at any time during the interview. During the course of the interrogation, the defendant made inculpatory statements. On appeal, the defendant argued that he was not properly informed of his Miranda right to have counsel present during his questioning. However, the Supreme Court found the warning provided to the defendant to be sufficient. “In combination. the two warnings reasonably conveyed Powell’s right to have an attorney present, not only at the outset of interrogation, but at all times.” Id. at 1205.

In Maryland v. Shatzer, 130 S. Ct. 1213 (2010), the Court limited the holding in Edwards v. Arizona, 101 S. Ct. 1880 (1981). Edwards created a presumption that once a suspect invoked his Miranda right to the presence of counsel, any waiver was to be deemed involuntary. Shatzer addressed a circumstance in which a suspect’s protections under Edwards expired.

In Shatzer, the defendant was imprisoned for one crime, and a detective attempted to interrogate him for a second crime. In the interrogation, the defendant was read his Miranda rights and invoked his right to have counsel present. The detective terminated the interview, and the defendant was released back into the general population of the prison. Two years later, a different detective went to the prison and again attempted to interrogate the defendant. On this occasion, the detective read the defendant his Miranda rights, and the defendant waived his right to counsel and made incriminating statements.

On appeal, the defendant argued that a mere passage of time did not terminate his Edwards protections. However, the Supreme Court held that because the defendant experienced a “break in Miranda custody” that lasted more than two weeks, suppression of the statement was not required. Id. at 1227. In reaching this decision, the Court noted that the purpose of Edwards was to prevent police from “badgering” a suspect. According to the Court, a suspect would be more likely to be coerced into making a statement if he was left in uninterrupted Miranda custody. However, when a suspect receives a “break in custody” and is allowed to return to his normal life, there is less likelihood of coercion.

Finally, in Berghuis v. Thompkins, 130 S. Ct. 2250 (2010), the Court considered a case where the defendant was arrested and interrogated for three hours. He was advised of his Miranda rights but remained largely silent for hours. Despite remaining silent, he never explicitly stated that he wished to invoke his Miranda rights. At the end of the interrogation, the defendant answered ‘yes’ to the question of whether he had prayed for forgiveness for his crime.

Ironically, the Court held that silence was not sufficient to invoke one’s right to silence. As pointed out by Justice Sotomayor’s dissent, in order to remain silent, one must “counterintuitively” speak. Id. at 2278. The Court held that a suspect must unambiguously invoke his right to remain silent. The defendant’s response to officers after hours of questioning demonstrated an implied waiver. Because proper warnings had been given and the defendant remained silent, there was no other coercion, and his eventual response constituted a waiver.•
 

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  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

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