Essay on Right To Remain Silent
Number of words: 1121
Hand’s Entitlement to Miranda Warnings
In the U.S. suspects are entitled to Miranda rights. Miranda rights describe a type of notification that law enforcement officers give to criminal suspects regarding the latter’s right to silence. The Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona, outlined the Miranda warnings seeking to protect suspects’ Fifth Amendment privileges against self-incrimination during police questioning (U.S. Courts, n.d). Essentially, the warnings allow criminal suspects to refuse to answer questions or give information to police officers. In some circumstances, criminal suspects can be questioned without being reminded of their Miranda rights whenever public safety is of essence. In New York v. Quarles, the Supreme Court provided an exception to the Miranda warnings, in situations where police officers question criminal suspects legally with a view to protect their safety and that of the public (New York v. Quarles, n.d). As a result, given that public safety was an issue in Hand’s questioning, Hand was not entitled to Miranda warnings. The fact that Hand is a non-U.S. citizen does not affect his Fifth Amendment rights. Essentially, Miranda warnings apply to all people within the U.S., unless they have an aspect of diplomatic immunity (MirandaWarning.org, n.d). As a result, Hand’s non-citizen status did not affect his right to remain silent.
Whether Hand’s questioning was Custodial
The Court in Miranda v. Arizona provided that Miranda warnings apply to all custodial interrogation (U.S. Courts, n.d). Essentially, a custodial interrogation implies to when the freedom of movement of a criminal suspect is restrained. A criminal suspect can be under custodial interrogation even if they are not under arrest, provided their freedom of movement is curtailed. In this case, Hand’s questioning was not custodial. Hand’s questioning occurred inside his bedroom, where he was found by the DHS and FBI agents together with a woman. Also, during custodial questioning, police officers should inform a criminal suspect that they have the right to remain silent and the right to consult or seek the accompaniment of an attorney in the course of the questioning (U.S. Courts, n.d). During Hand’s questioning, the DHS and FBI agents’ approach could have sabotaged Hand’s right against self-incrimination, given that they pointed shotguns at the suspect.
Whether McFadden’s Statement Constitutes Custodial Interrogation
McFadden’s statement is an issue of custodial interrogation. For an interrogation to be regarded as custodial per Miranda, several factors come into play. Essentially, a court attempts to establish how intimidating, coercive, or compelling the questioning environment was. For instance, an interrogation conducted by a police officer is somewhat compelling and thus constitutes custodial interrogation (Rydholm, n.d). Another factor a court may consider is the party that initiated the conversation. For instance, while a conversation initiated by suspect to an officer can be considered non-custodial, a conversation started by a police officer can be regarded as custodial. The other factor is the place of the questioning. A questioning at a police station is considered more intimidating and thus custodial. In this case, McFadden’s statement about Jaxon’s family constitutes custodial interrogation, given that the questioning done by the police officer could lead to an incriminating evidence from the suspect. Jaxon’s movement was also restricted by the police officer, albeit he was not in a police station.
Whether Hand’s Statement can be used against Him in a Court of Law
Hand’s statement can be used against him in a court of law. To begin with, Hand’s statement was un-Mirandized as it involved an issue of public safety. In American courts, the exclusionary rule applies. Essentially, courts can subdue police officers’ evidence that is obtained through unconstitutional conduct. In Dickerson v. United States, the court held that the government cannot legislatively overrule Miranda v. Arizona (Dickerson v. United States, n.d). Therefore, police officers cannot violate one’s Miranda rule. Even so, un-Mirandized statements can be used as evidence at trial in some instances. One of these instances is when public safety is an issue. When police officers regard a situation as potentially dangerous to them and the public, they can conduct interrogation without Miranda warnings (New York v. Quarles, n.d). If the interrogation leads to evidence such as a dangerous weapon, the evidence can be used against the suspect in court. In this case, Hand admitted to hiring Jaxon to plant explosives in a stadium, a confession that constitutes public safety. As a result, the preceding interrogation by DHS and FBI agents and the subsequent statement by Hand can be used against the suspect in a court of law.
Whether Jaxon’ Statement can be used against Him in a Court of Law
Jaxon’s statement can be used against him in a court of law. Just like Hand’s questioning, the gravity of Jaxon’s case gives police officers the incentive to contravene the Miranda rule. Jaxon verbally admitted to knowing the presence of a bomb in the concert hall, an admission that was obtained by police officers without self-incriminating conditions. Given that his case constituted public safety concerns, his statement can be used against him in court. Even so, following Jaxon’s arrest by Central City Police, the suspect’s lawyer informed the police not to question their client before they could arrive. As a result, while Jaxon’s statement can be used against him in court, police officers would find it quite strenuous to show that the criminal suspect voided their right to fair representation by an attorney.
Whether Jaxon can testify against Hand
Jaxon can testify against Hand in court. In the scenario, Hand was the architect behind the plan to bomb the Capital City arena. On his part, Jaxon was an accomplice. In this case, Jaxon can testify based on accomplice witness’ testimony.
Dickerson v. United States. (n.d.). Oyez. www.oyez.org/cases/1999/99-5525
MirandaWarning.org. (n.d). Miranda Rights and Non-US Citizens. www.mirandawarning.org/mirandarightsandnonuscitizens.html
New York v. Quarles. (n.d.). Oyez. www.oyez.org/cases/1983/82-1213
Oakley, C. (2015). You Might Have the Right to Remain Silent: An Erosion of the Fifth Amendment with the Use of Pre-Arrest Silence. Creighton Law Review, 49, 589-624.
Rydholm, J. (n.d). Miranda: The Meaning of Custodial Interrogation. Nolo. www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/miranda-the-meaning-custodial-interrogation.html
U.S. Courts. (n.d). Facts and Case Summary – Miranda v. Arizona. www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-miranda-v-arizona