Maryland v. Shatzer, (2010) – 130 S. Ct. 1213


Case Name: Maryland v. Shatzer
Date: 2010
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: If a Defendant invokes his rights, and then experiences a break of 14 days or more from Miranda custody, the police have scrupulously honored his invocation, and may approach the Defendant for questioning again.
Brief Analysis: Shatzer experienced a break in Miranda custody lasting more than two weeks between the first and second attempts at interrogation, Edwards does not mandate suppression of his 2006 statements.
Topic Area: 5th Amendment


Facts: In 2003, a police detective tried to question respondent Shatzer, who was incarcerated at a Maryland prison pursuant to a prior conviction, about allegations that he had sexually abused his son. Shatzer **1216 invoked his Miranda right to have counsel present during interrogation, so the detective terminated the interview. Shatzer was released back into the general prison population, and the investigation was closed. Another detective reopened the investigation in 2006 and attempted to interrogate Shatzer, who was still incarcerated. Shatzer waived his Miranda rights and made inculpatory statements. The trial court refused to suppress those statements, reasoning that Edwards did not apply because Shatzer had experienced a break in custody prior to the 2006 interrogation. Shatzer was convicted of sexual child abuse.
Court(s) Below: Defendant was convicted in Maryland for sexual abuse. The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed and remanded because the mere passage of time does not constitute a break in custody.
D Argument:
Rule: The Edwards rule, under which a suspect who has invoked his right to the presence of counsel during custodial interrogation is not subject to further interrogation until either counsel has been made available or the suspect himself further initiates exchanges with the police, does not apply if a break in custody lasting 14 days has occurred, and

Defendant’s return to the general prison population, after he had invoked his right to the presence of counsel during custodial interrogation regarding allegations of criminal conduct separate from the conduct underlying the defendant’s convictions, constituted a break in custody.

Analysis: “[W]hen an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established by showing only that he responded to further police-initiated custodial interrogation even if he has been advised of his rights…. [He] is not subject to further interrogation by the authorities until counsel has been made available to him, unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police.” The rationale of Edwards is that once a suspect indicates that “he is not capable of undergoing [custodial] questioning without advice of counsel,” “any subsequent waiver that has come at the authorities’ behest, and not at the suspect’s own instigation, is itself the product of the ‘inherently compelling pressures’ and not the purely voluntary choice of the suspect.” A judicially crafted rule is “justified only by reference to its prophylactic purpose,” and applies only where its benefits outweigh its costs. The Edwards ‘ presumption of involuntariness has the incidental effect of “conserv[ing] judicial resources which would otherwise be expended in making difficult determinations of voluntariness.” Its fundamental purpose, however, is to “[p]reserv[e] the integrity of an accused’s choice to communicate with police only through counselby “prevent[ing] police from badgering a defendant into waiving his previously asserted Miranda rights,” Thus, the benefits of the rule are measured by the number of coerced confessions it suppresses that otherwise would have been admitted. When a suspect has been released from his pretrial custody and has returned to his normal life for some time before the later attempted interrogation, there is little reason to think that his change of heart regarding interrogation without counsel has been coerced. It is far fetched to think that a police officer’s asking the suspect whether he would like to waive his Miranda rights will “wear down the accused,”

Interrogated suspects who have previously been convicted of crime live in prison. When they are released back into the general prison population, they return to their accustomed surroundings and daily routine—they regain the degree of control they had over their lives prior to the interrogation. Sentenced prisoners, in contrast to the Miranda paradigm, are not isolated with their accusers. They live among other inmates, guards, and workers, and often can receive visitors and communicate with people on the outside by mail or telephone. Thus, they have returned to their normal lives for some time. Being an in inmate does not change the anlysis

Concurrence: Thomas – Agrees with the judgment, but doesn’t want to extend Edwards (14 days) beyond the specific facts in that case. Thomas has an issue with where 14 days came from, as it assumes that this is “plenty of time to shake off the residual effects of interrogation”.

Steven – Dislikes the hard line of 14 days. “The most troubling aspect of the Court’s time-based rule is that it disregards the compulsion caused by a second (or third, or fourth) interrogation of an indigent suspect who was told that if he requests a lawyer, one will be provided for him. When police tell an indigent suspect that he has the right to an attorney, that he is not required to speak without an attorney present, and that an attorney will be provided to him at no cost before questioning, the police have made a significant promise. If they cease questioning and then reinterrogate the suspect 14 days later without providing him with a lawyer, the suspect is likely to feel that the police lied to him and that he really does not have any right to a lawyer.”

Lewis v. Florida, (1988) 486 U.S. 1036 Cer’t Denied White (D)


Case Name: Lewis v. Florida
Date: 1988
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: Interrogation” under Miranda does include conditions that are its “functional equivalent,” that is, “any words or actions on the part of the police (other than those normally attendant to arrest and custody) that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect. The latter portion of this definition focuses primarily upon the perceptions of the suspect, rather than the intent of the police. We also have observed that a “psychological ploy” of any significance would also be treated as the “functional equivalent” of interrogation.
Brief Analysis: Showing Defendant videos of him committing the crime after he invoked his right to remain silent is a psychological ploy, and is the functional equivalent of interrogation.
Topic Area: 5th Amendment


Facts: Defendant was arrested, Mirandized, and invoked his right to remain silent. While in custody, the police showed him videotapes of him committing the crime. During the viewing Defendant made several incriminating statements, which were introduced at trial.
Court(s) Below:
D Argument:
Cases Cited:

Rhode Island v. Innis (1980) – 446 U.S. 291


Case Name: Rhode Island v. Innis
Date: 1980
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: Once a Defendant is in custody and invokes his right to counsel, the Police must “scrupulously honor” that invocation and cease all interrogation until a lawyer is present.

For Miranda purposes, the term “interrogation” refers to any words or action on the part of the police, other than those normally attendant on arrest and custody, that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect

Brief Analysis: (1) The Miranda safeguards come into play whenever a person in custody is subjected either to express questioning or to its functional equivalent; (2) for Miranda purposes, the term “interrogation” refers to any words or action on the part of the police, other than those normally attendant on arrest and custody, that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect; and (3) defendant was not interrogated in violation of his right to remain silent until he had consulted with a lawyer where there was no express questioning of defendant and where defendant was not subjected to the functional equivalent of questioning since it could not be said that the officers should have known that their brief conversation in his presence was reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response and there was nothing in the record to suggest that the officers knew that defendant would be susceptible to an appeal to his conscience concerning the safety of children and would respond by offering to show the officers where a shotgun was buried
Topic Area: 5th Amendment


Facts: Shortly after a taxicab driver, who had been robbed by a man wielding a sawed-off shotgun, identified a picture of respondent as that of his assailant, a Providence, R.I., patrolman spotted respondent, who was unarmed, on the street, arrested him, and advised him of his rights. When other police officers arrived at the arrest scene, respondent was twice again advised of his Miranda rights, and he stated that he understood his rights and wanted to speak with a lawyer. Respondent was then placed in a police car to be driven to the central station in the company of three officers, who were instructed not to question respondent or intimidate him in any way. While en route to the station, two of the officers engaged in a conversation between themselves concerning the missing shotgun. One of the officers stated that there were “a lot of handicapped children running around in this area” because a school for such children was located nearby, and “God forbid one of them might find a weapon with shells and they might hurt themselves.” Respondent interrupted the conversation, stating that the officers should turn the car around so he could show them where the gun was located. Upon returning to the scene of the arrest where a search for the shotgun was in progress, respondent was again advised of his Miranda rights, replied that he understood those rights but that he “wanted to get the gun out of the way because of the kids in the area in the school,” and then led the police to the shotgun.
Court(s) Below: Defendant’s offer to show police officers was introduced to convict him of Murder, kidnapping, and burglary in Rhode Island state court. The Rhode Island Supreme Court set aside Defendant’s conviction because he was interrogated after he had invoked his right to counsel. The Supreme Court overturned the RI Supreme Court.
D Argument:
Rule: Once warnings have been given, the subsequent procedure is clear. . . . If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning. If the individual cannot obtain an attorney and he indicates that he wants one before speaking to police, they must respect his decision to remain silent.”
Analysis: In its Miranda opinion, the Court concluded that in the context of “custodial interrogation” certain procedural safeguards are necessary to protect a defendant’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination. More specifically, the Court held that “the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.” Once the Defendant has invoked his right to counsel, police must scrupulously honor that invocation. This means that the police cannot initiate interrogation until the Defendant’s attorney is present. The starting point for defining “interrogation, the Miranda court explained: “[b]y custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.” “Confessions remain a proper element in law enforcement. Any statement given freely and voluntarily without *300 any compelling influences is, of course, admissible in evidence. The fundamental import of the privilege while an individual is in custody is not whether he is allowed to talk to the police without the benefit of warnings and counsel, but whether he can be interrogated. . . . Volunteered statements of any kind are not barred by the Fifth Amendment. for Miranda purposes, the term “interrogation” refers to any words or action on the part of the police, other than those normally attendant on arrest and custody, that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect. The respondent was not “interrogated” within the meaning of Miranda. It is undisputed that the first prong of the definition of “interrogation” was not satisfied, for the conversation between Patrolmen Gleckman and McKenna included no express questioning of the respondent. Rather, that conversation was, at least in form, nothing more than a dialogue between the two officers to which no response from the respondent was invited.
Concurrence: C.J. Burger – The result is not inconsistent with Miranda, but the additional analysis may cause confusion for police officers in obtaining lawful confessions.

White¨- For the reasons stated in his dissenting opinion in Brewer

Dissent: Marhsall –  Marshall agrees with the definition of “interrogation, but fails to see how this was not designed to elicit incriminating evidence. Because the police had only driven for 1 mile at 4:30 am before Defendant “offered” to show them where the gun was, the police must have immediately began discussing the gun. There is no other interpretation of why they had that discussion in Defendant’s presence.
Cases Cited: