Keep your mouth shut and avoid the ever-expanding exceptions to Miranda

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[Civil Liberties] [Michigan]
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Keep your mouth shut and avoid the ever-expanding exceptions to Miranda

Inside prison I'm constantly reading cases where the defendants lose because they couldn't keep their big fuckin' mouths shut, either before or after the much-vaunted Miranda warning. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966).

Based on the 5th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, Miranda extends our well-known, seemingly little-used, right to remain silent, as in "I'll take the fifth," outside the courtroom. In other words, ya'l can't be compeled to incriminate yourselves during police investigations in which "your freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way..." Id. at 467. This used to be interpreted by the courts to mean that upon arrest you must be given the Miranda warning, or else anything you said, or resulted from what you said, must be suppressed, that is none of your unwarned statements, or evidence resulting from them, can be used against you at trial.

However, not so much anymore. Back in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court radically limited Miranda when it held that the failure by police to give Miranda warnings does not require suppression of the physical fruits of an arrested suspect's unwarned but voluntary statements. It seems, the dummy, errr suspect, voluntarily told the police the gun they found was his before the warning and his conviction stands. United States v Patane, 542 US 630 (2004); also, Hibel v Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 542 US 960 (2004) (defendant's conviction for refusal to identify self did not violate his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination).

That ain't all folks, as the Supremes have been chipping away at Miranda for years, mostly by narrowing the definition of what constitutes an arrest or being in custody. Maybe it's just me, but when I'm surrounded by armed thugs I just know I'm under arrest and in custody! Unfortunately, that ain't necessarily how the U.S. Supreme Court sees it, as it has repeatedly found that not every violation of Miranda requires suppression of the evidence. See Harris v New York, 401 US 222 (1971); New York Quarles, 467 US 649 (1984); and Oregon v Elstad, 470 US 298 (1985). This trend was emphasized when the court held that a California state appellate court did not unreasonably apply clearly established federal law (i.e. Miranda) by finding non-custodial status, given the debatability of status. Yarborough v Alvardo, 541 US 652 (2004); Cf., Fellers v United States, 540 US 519 (2003) (police violated 6th Amendment by deliberately eliciting information from defendant, during post-indictment visit to his home to arrest him, absent counsel or waiver of counsel, regardless of whether officers' conduct constituted an "interrogation"); Missouri v Seibert, 542 US 600 (2004) (Miranda warnings given mid-interrogation, after defendant gave unwarned confession, were ineffective, and thus confession repeated after warnings were given was inadmissible at trial.)

No doubt, it is a "settled principle" that "the police have the right to request citizens to answer voluntarily questions concerning unsolved crimes," but "they have no right to compel them to answer." Davis v Mississippi, 394 US 721, 727, n. 6 (1969). Therefore, ya'll have to quit volunteering to incriminate yourselves and others. Also, you tattletales (i.e., snitches, informants, etc.) should know that when you do incriminate others to get out of your shit, then you more often than not incriminate yourself. It al boils down to this: When encountering the police, or any other armed terrorist enforcers of the state, just shut the fuck up.

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