Criminal Procedure - Confessions
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Excluding Confessions under the Due Process Clause (14th Am)
- excluded if involuntary, that is, the product of police coercion that overbears the suspect's will
- VA voluntariness: a question of fact based on preponderance of evidence; judge determines admissibility; jury considers credibility
Right to Counsel (6th Am)
- express constitutional guarantee
- *It applies at all critical stages of a criminal prosecution. The right attaches once formal charges are filed (not arrest), and initial appearance triggers the right.
- *The right is offense specific. It applies only to the charges that have been filed. No protection for uncounseled interrogation for other uncharged criminal activity.
Miranda Doctrine (5th Am)
- implied rights
- Four core warnings:
- 1. right to remain silent
- 2. anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law
- 3. right to an attorney
- 4. if you cannot afford one, an attorney will be appointed for you
- For Miranda, in custody means if atmosphere, viewed objectively, is characterized by police domination & coercion such that his or her freedom of action is limited in a significant way
- In VA: not free to go
- any conduct the police knew or should have known was likely to elicit an incriminating response
- Miranda does not apply to incriminating statements made spontaneously since they are not the product of interrogation
If a suspect is subjected to custodial interrogation, as defeined above, the Miranda doctrine applies with one important exception - If prompted by immediate concern for public safety, warnings unnecessary and any incriminating statements are admissible against the suspect
Unless the public safety exception applies, incriminating testimonial responses obtained through custodial interrogation are admissible only if police first obtain a valid waiver of a suspect's rights
- Two core requirements:
- 1. Knowing and intelligent: suspect understands nature and consequences of abandoning rights
- 2. Voluntary: not product of police coercion
- Test is totality of the circumstances - but sufficient to show received warning and chose to answer anyway
- proof of waiver is preponderance of evidence born by prosecution
- right to silence: police must scrupolously honor; cannot badger; must wait a significant period of time before reinitiating questioning and must obtain valid Miranda waiver
- right to counsel: 1) all interrogation must cease unless initiated by suspect; 2) request must be sufficiently clear; 3) expires 14 days after released from Miranda custody (need fresh set of Miranda warnings); 4) not offense specific.
Limitations on evidentiary exclusion
- Incriminating statements are inadmissible in prosecutor's case in chief but may be used to impeach D's testiony on cross but not 3d party witnesses
- *failure to give warnings does not require suppression of physical fruits from voluntary, incriminating statements
- subsequent statements after waiver are admissible so long as initial non-Mirandized statement was not obtained through the use of inherently coercive police tactics
- if improperly admitted at trial, guilty verdict may stand if govt can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the error was harmless b/c D would have been convicted w/out the tainted evidence
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