Legal Question in Criminal Law in Michigan

Miranda Rights

Are there any case laws in which a person was read his Miranda rights at the police

station and then at

the supression hearing it was determined that he was not in custody because he not

arrested similar to Oregon v Mathiason. In Mathison he was not read he rights and

it was determined he was not in custody so they were not warrented. What if there

was the same case but he was read his rights? It would be as if he was told that he has those rights but since he was not in custody he does not have them. Sort of like deceit on the suspect.

Asked on 8/22/01, 9:22 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Neil O'Brien Eaton County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Re: Miranda Rights

I've never heard of such a situation ... where a person has grounds to complain that he was advised of rights that did not technically apply. Even if it happened (and made incriminating statements anyway), what damage/detriment did the person suffer? What's the harm in telling ANY person in ANY setting (in-custody or not) that they do not have to talk to the cop, that what they say can be used against them in court, etc.?

"Miranda rights" are a so-called prophyllactic rule ... meant to protect people being interrogated by the government when their liberty of movement has been affected ("custody"). The rights are meant to insure that any incriminating statements (made by a person who is in custody and made while being "questioned" by the government) are made knowingly and voluntarily. If the person is in custody, he's in an environment where many things are not voluntary. These rights remind him that he can choose to not talk ... but if he does, he does so knowing that his words might come back to haunt him.

I disagree with your comment that "it sounds like deceit". Cops in the field cannot and do not analyze legalities with a fine-toothed-comb, like appellate courts do (when they review the cops' actions). The cops are supposed to know the general rules and obey them. They should also err on the side of OVER-compling with rules, not under-complying. That's what happened in the situation you outlined: the cops did more than they had to do. But, again, what's your beef about that?

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Answered on 8/22/01, 5:39 pm

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