Last week we discussed when it is okay for an officer to not give a Miranda warning, which begs the question, what happens when a Miranda warning is possibly warranted but not given?
The Fifth Amendment, U.S. Const. amend. V, and Mont. Const. art. II, 25 both provide that no person shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself. (Tune in next week to see when this actually applies in civil cases as well). Courts have found that when a person is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his/her freedom by the authorities in any significant way AND is subjected to questioning, he/she must be Mirandized. Failure by law enforcement officers to provide a Miranda warning and obtain a waiver of rights prior to a custodial interrogation generally requires exclusion of any statements obtained. See State v. Kelm, 2013 MT 115, P1.
At this point you may be asking, “What does “exclusion” mean exactly?” Essentially, if you have been subjected to a custodial interrogation without being read your Miranda Rights, anything you have stated to officers after that point and any evidence obtained because of your statements could potentially be excluded from your case in a potential trial. There are a number of exceptions to this, and, of course, having someone to advocate for these rights is of the utmost importance.
Have you found yourself in a bind? Do you think you were subjected to an illegal custodial interrogation? Contact the attorneys at Bryan, diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP today to set up a consultation. They have handled an extensive amount of suppression issues throughout their careers.