“No one read me my rights!” During an encounter with law enforcement, someone who is arrested may not have had their Miranda rights read to them. This may be problematic for the prosecuting agency, but everything depends on the specific facts of the case. In order for the Miranda rights requirement to “kick in” there must be a custodial interrogation that takes place. Kansas case law provides that a two-part inquiry is used to determine whether an interrogation is custodial for purposes of Miranda.The first prong is: what were the circumstances surrounding the interrogation? The second prong of the inquiry is: under all of those circumstances, would a reasonable person have felt he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave? Factors considered in analyzing circumstances surrounding an interrogation include: when and where the interrogation occurred; how long it lasted; how many police officers were present; what the officers did and the defendant said; the presence of actual physical restraint on the defendant or things equivalent to actual restraint such as drawn weapons or a guard stationed at the door; whether the defendant is being questioned as a suspect or a witness; how the defendant got to the place of questioning, that is, whether he or she came independently in response to a police request or was escorted by police officers; and what happened after the interrogation, that is, whether the defendant left freely, was detained, or was arrested. Each case is analyzed on its own facts and the importance of and existence of each factor may vary from case to case.Whether an interrogation is custodial is determined based on how a reasonable person in the suspect’s situation would perceive his or her circumstances. All circumstances surrounding the interrogation must be examined, and courts determine how a reasonable person in the position of the individual being questioned would “gauge the breadth” of his or her freedom of action. The determination of “custody” for purposes of Miranda depends on the objective circumstances of the interrogation, not on the views of either the interrogating officers or the person being questioned.Even though unwarned statements pointing toward guilt (inculpatory statements) that are obtained through noncustodial interrogation are not barred by Miranda, statements may still be inadmissible if they were obtained in violation of the due process voluntariness requirement.In determining whether a defendant’s confession is voluntary, the essential inquiry is whether the statement was the product of the free and independent will of the accused. In making this determination, the court considers the following specific factors: the accused’s mental condition; the manner and duration of the interrogation; the ability of the accused to communicate with the outside world; the accused’s age, intellect, and background; the fairness of the officers in conducting the interrogation; and the accused’s fluency in the English language.Ultimately, Miranda warnings are not required whenever police question someone. Miranda warnings are required only where there has been such a restriction on a person’s freedom as to render him “in custody.” When you need help in your criminal matter contact Mack & Associates, LLC for passionate and experienced legal representation.
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