Miranda Prosecution: A Case Study

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Point 1. The collected evidence ought to be suppressed for failure to issue Miranda warnings during a custodial interrogation. Miranda warnings were made mandatory by the Supreme Court to protect the citizenry from hard police interrogation tactics and forced confessions. However, when a private citizen becomes the interrogator outside, the application of Miranda becomes less strict. The Constitution does not restrain a private citizen in the same ways as law enforcement, unless that citizen is acting as an agent of law enforcement. When a private citizen either by his own initiative or at the request of law enforcement gathers evidence with the intent of furthering criminal prosecution, Miranda warnings must be given. A. Mr. Lake was acting as an agent of law enforcement when he questioned Ms. Greene. There is no clear rule for when a private person is acting as an agent of law enforcement. Every instance of agency must be individually examined. The Fifth Circuit provided a general test for examining agency: 1) whether the government knew or acquiesced in the conduct and 2) whether the party intended to assist law enforcement efforts. United States v. Grimes, 244 F.3d 375 (5th Cir. 2001). In Ferguson v. City of Charleston the state hospital was dealing with a large number of prospective mothers with narcotics…show more content…
Smith a psychiatrist interviewed the defendant to determine his competency to stand trial. 451 U.S. 454 (1981). The prosecution called the psychiatrist during the sentencing hearing. Id. at 456 He testified, based on his pretrial interview, the defendant was a sociopath, posed a danger to society, was likely to repeat offenses, and was not going to be rehabilitated. Id. Based on that testimony, the jury returned the death penalty. The court ruled the psychiatrist became “like an agent of the state recounting unwarned statements made in post arrest custody.” Id. at 468. Therefore, the defendant was entitled to Miranda warnings.

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