A. Interrogations, Confessions, and Non-testimonial Evidence 1. The Exclusionary Rule:
The principle based on federal Constitutional Law that evidence illegally seized by law enforcement officers in violation of a suspect's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be used against the suspect in a criminal prosecution. The exclusionary rule is designed to exclude evidence obtained in violation of a criminal defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement personnel. If the search of a criminal suspect is unreasonable, the evidence obtained in the search will be excluded from trial.
2. Voluntariness of Statements:
If a statement is beaten out of a suspect, or if he was coerced into confessing under the duress of a threatened beating, lynching, or other violence, the confession was tainted. Some of the circumstances that will invalidate confession are: i. Brutality or threatened brutality
Promises to drop the charges or to forgo prosecution of other suspected crimes Threats to arrest members of the suspect’s employer and him fired if he does not cooperate Threats to arrest members of the family or to cut off welfare assistance from them Holding the suspect on false charges
Refusing the suspect the right to make bail
Using false or illegally seized evidence to induce a confession 3. The Miranda Warnings:
The Miranda Warning is a police warning which is given to criminal suspects who are in the custody of law enforcement in the United States before they can ask questions regarding what took place during the crime. Law enforcement can only ask for specific information such as name, date of birth and address without having to read the suspects their Miranda warnings. Confessions and other information that you provide them will not make up admissible evidence unless you have been made aware of and waived your "Miranda rights". The Miranda warnings were mandated by the 1966 United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Miranda v. Arizona as to protect a criminal suspect's Fifth Amendment right to help avoid self-incrimination during police interrogation. This was once referred to as undergoing the ‘third degree.’ 4. What is Custody?
Custody is the care, possession, and control of a thing or person. It is the retention, inspection, guarding, maintenance, or security of a thing within the immediate care and control of the person to whom it is committed. It is also the detention of a person by lawful authority or process. 5. What is interrogation?
Questioning of a suspect or witness by law enforcement authorities. Once a person being questioned is arrested (is a "prime" suspect) he/she is entitled to be informed of his/her legal rights, and in no case may the interrogation violate rules of due process. Investigation has also been defined as “any questioning likely to yield incriminating evidence. 6. What is a State Officer?
The Miranda decision only applies to “state action.” This means that interrogation by nongovernmental personnel falls outside its mandates. With the exception of Maryland, private security officers in all states are exempt from the Miranda decision, even if they possess a commission as a special officer or deputy sheriff. 7. Applicable Offenses
Many states ruled that misdemeanors are excluded from Miranda protection. There is merit to this interpretation if the offense is a petty one, punishable only by fine, or jail term of short duration. (shorter than 6 months) 8. Capacity of Suspects
Statements taking from the insane, persons who are drunk, under the influence of drugs, or who do not speak elementary English may not be admissible. A suspect must make a knowing and intelligent waiver. 9. Impeachment and Other Derivative Uses of Inadmissible Confessions Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963), is a United States Supreme Court decision excluding the presentation of verbal evidence...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document