Sunday, April 21, 2013

Miranda Exceptions

A lot has been said on the news this week regarding the public safety exception to the Miranda rule. And though this exception is important to know for the MBE, there are other exceptions you should be aware of as well.

First the rule: Miranda warnings (if no exceptions apply) must be provided prior to any statement made during "custodial interrogation." A suspect is in custody when, by an objective standard, the suspect is not free to leave. If a suspect while in custody is interrogated without having been read Miranda warnings, those statements may be excluded from evidence during trial as per the exclusionary rule.

The exceptions that must be kept in mind as to when Miranda warnings are not required are as follows:

(1) Questioning by private security guards (as opposed to the government).

(2) Statements made before a grand jury.

(3) On the scene questioning if it's unreasonable for a suspect to believe that he/she is not free to leave the scene.

(4) Spontaneous, unsolicited statements, as these statements would not be deemed a consequence of interrogation. These are voluntary statements, and these statements will not be excluded for lack of Miranda warnings.

(5) Interrogation of a taxpayer during a criminal investigation by the I.R.S.

(6) When the right to receive the warnings is outweighed by the immediate threat posed to the public safety.

(7) Routine booking questions by the police such as age, date of birth, height, and weight.

As always, note the exceptions well. Knowing the rule is the foundation, but knowing the exceptions will earn you the points on the MBE.

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