Saturday, February 17, 2024

Conversation at police station between suspects not protected by Miranda

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reinstated a Florida man’s conviction, following a challenge that the police department violated the man’s Miranda rights, reported Jurist.

Jimmie Bowen was arrested for his alleged involvement in gang related violence. After being advised of his Miranda rights, Bowen invoked his right to counsel. Some time after, Bowen was moved to a new interrogation room with another suspect who had waived his Miranda rights. The suspects began discussing the event and revealed incriminating information, which was being recorded by police.

Bowen moved for these statements to be suppressed, arguing that placing the two suspects in the same room was an interrogation, violating his Miranda rights. Once a suspect invokes his right to counsel, the police are not allowed to continue interrogations without counsel being present. The incriminating statements were used at trial and Bowen was convicted.

The appeals court disagreed with Bowen, stating “Miranda does not require a warning, or otherwise impose restrictions, anytime police speak with someone–even if that someone is a suspect. Instead, its protections apply only in custodial interrogation.” The court went on to state that this was not a custodial interrogation, as Bowen spoke to the other suspect “because he wanted to,” and knew he could refuse.

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