Court Finds Miranda Warning Defective

Case: People v. Mathews

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Published Opinion )

Issues:

Right against self-incrimination; People v. Cortez (On Remand); Miranda warnings; Miranda v. Arizona; People v. Daoud; Florida v. Powell; United States v. Crumpton (6th Cir.); United States v. Ellis (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Principle that a verbatim recital of the words of the Miranda opinion is not required; People v. Hoffman; California v. Prysock; Duckworth v. Eagan; People v. Elliott; United States v. Frankson (4th Cir.); Right to cut off questioning; People v. Adams; Michigan v. Mosley; People v. Tubbs; United States v. Alba (D CT); Colorado v. Spring; United States v. Lares-Valdez (9th Cir.); “Right to an attorney” component; People v. Whisenant; People v. Hopper; People v. Jourdan; People v. Johnson; Bridgers v. Dretke (5th Cir.); United States v. Tillman (6th Cir.); Smith v. Rhay (9th Cir.); State v. McNeely (ID); Coffey v. State (TX App.); United States v. Noti (9th Cir.); State v. Williams (LA App.); United States v. Takai (D UT); State v. Carlson (AZ); United States v. Warren (3d Cir.); United States v. Caldwell (8th Cir.); United States v. Lamia (2d Cir.); Carter v. People (CO); People v. Walton(IL App.)

Summary:

Addressing an issue of first impression, the court held that because generally advising defendant that she had “a right to a lawyer” did not sufficiently convey her right to consult with an attorney and to have one present during the interrogation, the Miranda warnings given to her were defective. Thus, it affirmed the trial court’s suppression of her statement. She was charged with open murder, discharge of a firearm in a building, and two counts of felony-firearm in the killing of her boyfriend. The trial court granted her motion to suppress statements she made to police based on the contention that police failed to adequately advise her of her Miranda rights. The prosecution filed an interlocutory application for leave to appeal, which the court denied. It then filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, which remanded in lieu of granting leave, instructing the court “to consider whether either of the bases for suppression advanced by the defendant in the trial court rendered the warning in this case deficient” under Miranda. On remand, the court rejected her argument that her statement should be suppressed on the basis that she was not more specifically informed that she could terminate the interrogation at any time, finding that because she “was advised of her right to remain silent, the Miranda warnings were not defective merely because she was not more specifically advised that she could exercise this right at any point during the interrogation.” However, it agreed with her that a general warning as to the “right to a lawyer” did not adequately inform her of her right to have an attorney present before and during the interrogation, holding that such a warning “does not comply with the dictates of Miranda.” Considering the conflicting persuasive authority, it concluded that “the essential information required by Miranda includes a temporally-related warning regarding the right to consult an attorney and to have an attorney present during the interrogation, not merely general information regarding the ‘right to an attorney.’” Thus, it held that “a warning preceding a custodial interrogation is deficient when the warning contains only a broad reference to the ‘right to an attorney’ that does not, when the warning is read in its entirety, reasonably convey the suspect’s right to consult with a lawyer and to have an attorney present during the interrogation.”

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