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

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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)

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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:
Rule: SCOTUS DID NOT HEAR THIS CASE, THEY DENIED CERT – THIS IS JUST WHITE’S DISSENT FROM THE DENIAL
Analysis:
Concurrence:
Dissent:
Cases Cited:

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

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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:

Howes v. Fields (2012) – 132 S. Ct. 1181

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Case Name: Howes v. Fields 
Date: 2012
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: The Miranda warning does not have to be given where an inmate is removed for interrogation about activity outside the prison, unless the interrogation is conducted in a way as to have a coercive effect on the speaker; i.e., the speaker’s freedom-of-movement, is restricted.
Brief Analysis: Because the evidence indicates that Fields was told he could end the interrogation whenever he wanted, was free from restraints, and was interrogated in a room where the door was open; it is unlikely that the interrogation presented the same coercive effects that Miranda sought to mitigate.
Topic Area: 5th Amendment

 

Facts: Time 1: Fields was arrested and convicted for an undisclosed crime. Time 2: While in jail, Fields was escorted from his cell to a conference room by an officer.

Time 3: Fields was questioned by sheriffs about criminal conduct before his conviction.

Time 4: No Miranda warnings were given.

Time 5: Fields was told multiple times that he was free to return to his cell, Fields remained free of restraints, the door to the room was open at times, at one point Fields stated he no longer wanted to answer questions; he never asked to return to his cell.

Time 6: Fields was questioned between5 and 7 hours

Time 7: Fields confessed to third-degree sexual conduct.

Court(s) Below: The District Court granted Fields Habeus Corpus relief. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit affirmed holding that under Mathis, isolation from the general prison population, paired with questioning about conduct outside the prison constituted “custodial interrogation” per se, requiring that Fields be given the Miranda warning.
D Argument:
Rule: The Miranda warning does not have to be given where an inmate is removed for interrogation about activity outside the prison, unless the interrogation is conducted in a way as to have a coercive effect on the speaker; i.e., the speaker’s freedom-of-movement, is restricted.
Analysis: AlitoThe 6th Circuit is simply wrong in finding a categorical rule  that a Miranda warning should be given any time a prisoner is separated from the general prison population and questioned about conduct outside the prison. SCOTUS has refused to adopt a rule that an inmate must be Mirandized every time he is in custody (prison), and speaks to a Government official. The inquiry is whether the inquiry is exerting the coercive effect that Miranda was designed to protect against. “custody” is a term of art that specifies circumstances that are thought generally to present a serious danger of coercion. In determining whether a person is in custody in this sense, the initial step is to ascertain whether, in light of “the objective circumstances of the interrogation. Typically, freedom of movement is a benchmark for “custody”, the question for this is whether the relevant environment presents the same inherently coercive pressures as the type of station house questioning at issue in Miranda. Questioning a person who is already serving a prison term does not generally involve the shock that very often accompanies arrest, the ordinary restrictions of prison life, while no doubt unpleasant, are expected and familiar and thus do not involve the same “inherently compelling pressures” that are often present when a suspect is yanked from familiar surroundings in the outside world and subjected to interrogation in a police station. In short, standard conditions of confinement and associated restrictions on freedom will not necessarily implicate the same interests that the Court sought to protect when it afforded special safeguards to persons subjected to custodial interrogation. Thus, service of a term of imprisonment, without more, is not enough to constitute Miranda custody.

Respondent was told at the outset of the interrogation, and was reminded again thereafter, that he could leave and go back to his cell whenever he wanted.. Moreover, respondent was not physically restrained or threatened and was interviewed in a well-lit, average-sized conference room, where he was “not uncomfortable. He was offered food and water, and the door to the conference room was sometimes left open. All of these objective facts are consistent with an interrogation environment in which a reasonable person would have felt free to terminate the interview and leave

Concurrence: Ginsburg(C/D) – Were the case here on direct review, I would vote to hold that Miranda precludes the State’s introduction of Fields’s confession as evidence against him. As the Court acknowledges, Fields did not invite or consent to the interview He was removed from his cell in the evening, taken to a conference room in the sheriff’s quarters, and questioned by two armed deputies long into the night and early morning. He was not told at the outset that he had the right to decline to speak with the deputies.. Shut in with the armed officers, Fields felt “trapped.” Although told he could return to his cell if he did not want to cooperate, Fields believed the deputies “would not have allowed [him] to leave the room”. And with good reason. More than once, “he told the officers … he did not want to speak with them anymore. He was given water,  but not his evening medications, Yet the Court concludes that Fields was in “an interrogation environment in which a reasonable person would have felt free to terminate the interview and leave. This is simply not the case.
Dissent: N/A
Cases Cited: Mathis – an inmate in a state prison was questioned by an Internal Revenue agent and was subsequently convicted for federal offenses. The Court of Appeals held that Miranda did not apply to this interview for two reasons: A criminal investigation had not been commenced at the time of the interview, and the prisoner was incarcerated for an “unconnected offense.” Mathis v. United States. SCOTUS rejected both of those grounds for distinguishing Miranda, and thus, the holding in Mathis is simply that a prisoner who otherwise meets the requirements for Miranda custody is not taken outside the scope of Miranda by either of the two factors on which the Court of Appeals had relied. Mathis did not hold that imprisonment, in and of itself, is enough to constitute Miranda custody.

Dun And Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc. (1985) – 472 U.S. 749

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Case Name: Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc. 
Date: 1985
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: The First Amendment does not protect the speech of a non-media party, when its actions create slander and/or libel against another private party.
Brief Analysis: While the First Amendment affords media defendants great protection, when they are reporting on issues of “public concern”, non-media defendants cannot use that same protection when their actions cause damages to private parties.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts: Petitioner sent a credit report to five subscribers, indicating that Respondent had filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy. The report was false, the result of the Petitioner’s use of a 17-year-old high school student to review the bankruptcy proceedings. Respondent was actually in good credit standing, but one of its employees had, indeed, filed bankruptcy. When respondent learned of the error, it called Petitioner, explained the error, and asked for a correction. Petitioner sent out a notice of the mistake, but refused to disclose its subscribers
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule: The First Amendment does not protect the speech of a non-media party, when its actions create slander and/or libel against another private party.
Analysis:  While the First Amendment affords media defendants great protection, when they are reporting on issues of “public concern”, non-media defendants cannot use that same protection when their actions cause damages to private parties.
Concurrence: N/A
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: In reaching its conclusion, the Court focused on content, form, and context, in considering whether the Defendant’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. In this case, the Court found that the Defendant, a private subscription service, was not reporting on an issue of public concern when it made its report regarding the Plaintiff, and as such, it could not seek protection under the First Amendment.

Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974) – 418 U.S. 323,

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Case Name: Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.
Date: 1974
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule:     The standard defamation rules apply to private individuals, the NY Times rule was not extended to private individuals.
Brief Analysis:      Because private individuals have less effective opportunities for rebuttal than do public officials and public figures, they are more vulnerable to injury from defamation. Thus, state interest in compensating injury to the reputation of private individuals is greater than for public officials and public figures, and States may constitutionally allow private individuals to recover damages for defamation on the basis of any standard of care except liability without fault.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts:        After a policeman killed a youth, the youth’s family retained the Petitioner an attorney to represent them in a civil action. In a magazine called American Opinion, the John Birch Society accused the Petitioner of being a “Leninist” and a “Communist-fronter” because he chose to represent clients who were suing a law enforcement officer. Because the statements contained serious inaccuracies, the Petitioner filed a libel action against the Respondent. The district court held that the New York Times standard applied, which meant that the Respondent escaped liability unless the Petitioner proved that a defamatory falsehood was published with actual malice. The district court entered judgment for the Respondent and the court of appeals affirmed.
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule: The constitutional guarantees (1st Amendment)  require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.

The rules do not extend to private individuals .

Analysis: Because the Petitioner was not a public figure, the state’s interest in compensating injury to his reputation required a different standard from that formulated in New York Times. The Supreme Court held further that the states could define for themselves the appropriate standard of liability for a publisher or broadcaster of defamatory falsehood injuries to a private individual.
Concurrence: N/A
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: New York Times v. Sullivan protected defamatory publications again public official, in this case, the Court is refuses to extend the NY Times rational to private individuals because the underlying reason for the NY Times case was that public officials have opportunity to rebutt fallacies, private individuals do not have that opportunity.

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) – 376 U.S. 254,

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Case Name: New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
Date: 1964
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Brief Analysis: In order for a public official to recover in a defamation action involving his official conduct, malice must be proved. Without the showing of malice, the Supreme Court felt that a defamation action in this case would severely cripple the safeguards of freedom speech and expression that are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution and applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts: The Plaintiff was one of three Commissioners of Montgomery, Alabama, who claimed that he was defamed in a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times. The advertisement was entitled, “Heed Their Rising Voices” and it charged in part that an unprecedented wave of terror had been directed against those who participated in the civil rights movement in the South. Some of the particulars of the advertisement were false. Although the advertisement did not mention the Plaintiff by name, he claimed that it referred to him indirectly because he had oversight responsibility of the police. The Defendant claimed that it authorized publication of the advertisement because it did not have any reason to believe that its contents were false. There was no independent effort to check its accuracy. The Plaintiff demanded that the Defendant retract the advertisement. The Defendant was puzzled as to why the Plaintiff thought the advertisement reflected adversely on him. The jury found the ad libe
lous per se and actionable without proof of malice. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $500,000 in damages. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. The Defendant appealed.
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule: The constitutional guarantees (1st Amendment)  require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Analysis:     Safeguards for freedom of speech and of the press are required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution (Constitution) in a libel action brought by a public official against critics of his official conduct

Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate and it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the breathing space that the need to survive.

The Constitution delimits a State’s power to award damages for libel in actions brought by public officials against critics of their official conduct. In this case, the rule requiring proof of actual malice is applicable.
The Defendant’s failure to retract the advertisement upon the Plaintiff’s demand is not adequate evidence of malice for constitutional purposes. Likewise, it is not adequate evidence of malice that the Defendant failed to check the advertisements accuracy against the news stories in the Defendant’s own files.

Concurrence: Black (J. Black) The First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution do not merely “delimit” a State’s power to award damages, but completely prohibit a State from exercising such a power. The Defendant had an absolute, unconditional right to publish criticisms of the Montgomery agencies and officials.
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: In order for a public official to recover in a defamation action involving his official conduct, malice must be proved. Without the showing of malice, the Supreme Court felt that a defamation action in this case would severely cripple the safeguards of freedom speech and expression that are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution and applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.