Reissuing of Miranda Rights?

Once in Police custody, every person is entitled to his or her Miranda Rights. Miranda Rights are in place to protect individuals from a violation of his or her Fifth Amendment right, which states that a person has a right to not incriminate him or herself. These rights protect individuals from being coerced into confessing a crime once interrogated by the police. The question becomes how often does a government official have to inform a suspect of his or her Miranda rights once in custody?

 

In People of the State of Michigan v. Howard, Howard was a suspect in a double murder and was in police custody for over three days. In those three days, the police questioned him three times. The first day, he was read his Miranda rights. During this interview, he admitted to being in the house when the murders took place but had no involvement. The second day he was questioned again but this time was not read his Miranda rights. During this interrogation, Howard confessed to being at the scene of the crime at the time of the murders and he admitted to taking one victim’s purse and attempted to take a television set. The third interview was conducted the next day and Howard’s Miranda rights were read. During this interview, he admitted to witnessing his friend, Moran, shoot the victims and kill them.

 

After the trial, Howard appealed his conviction on the grounds that the trial court denied his motion to suppress his statements made in the second interview because the police officers did not reissue his Miranda rights prior to the interview. It is important to note that during the first interview, Howard did not choose to remain silent. He waived his Miranda rights (You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.) and continued with the interview. The second interview was not an attempt to get Howard to talk because he refused to during the first interview. He voluntarily chose to talk during the first interview. However, the police officers had an obligation to reissue Howard his Miranda rights before the start of his second interview, just as they did before the start of his third interview. The rights must be read every time there is a significant break in an interrogation. His statements made during the second interrogation should have been suppressed.

 

The court concluded that due to the amount of evidence against Howard at trial, the suppression of his statements made during the second interview would not have changed the outcome of this trial; therefore, the appeal was denied.

 

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