Interviews & Interrogations

Interview-The questioning of a person to obtain statements or facts.

Interrogation-The formal and systematic questioning of a person to elicit incriminating statements of his/her criminal activity.

Click on the case titles to link to the full case decision.

Wilson v. U S, 162 U.S. 613 (1896)-"...the true test of admissibility is that the confession is made freely, voluntarily and without compulsion or inducement of any sort."

Stein v. New York, 346 U.S. 156 (1953)-"The limits in any case depend upon a weighing of the circumstances of pressure against the power of resistance of the person confessing. What would [352 U.S. 191, 198]   be overpowering to the weak of will or mind might be utterly ineffective against an experienced criminal."

Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966)-The Miranda case is a very important case to law enforcement. The United States Supreme Court established an irrebuttable presumption that a statement is involuntary if made during a custodial interrogation without the "Miranda Warnings" given. The warning requirements only apply when a person is in custody and interrogated. In this case, "custody" is an arrest or when freedom  is significantly deprived to be equivalent to an arrest. "Interrogation" is the use of words or actions to elicit an incriminating response from an average person.

Kastigar v. US, 406 U. S. 441 (1972)-The United States can compel testimony from an unwilling witness who invokes the Fifth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination by conferring immunity, as provided by 18 U.S.C. § 6002, from use of the compelled testimony and evidence derived therefrom in subsequent criminal proceedings, as such immunity from use and derivative use is coextensive with the scope of the privilege and is sufficient to compel testimony over a claim of the privilege. Transactional immunity would afford broader protection than the Fifth Amendment privilege, and is not constitutionally required. In a subsequent criminal prosecution, the prosecution has the burden of proving affirmatively that evidence proposed to be used is derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony.

US v. Dionisio, 410 US 1 (1973)-Compelled voice exemplars do not violate the privilege against self-incrimination.

Doyle v. Ohio, 426 US 610 (1976)-If a defendant is given his Miranda rights and elects to remain silent, his silence cannot be used in court to impeach him.

Oregon v. Mathiason, 429 U.S. 492 (1977)-If a suspect voluntarily comes to the station for questioning, is advised that he is not under arrest, and allowed to leave after the interview, he is not "in custody" or otherwise deprived of his freedom. The Miranda warning is not required. Miranda warnings are required only where there has been such a restriction on a person's freedom as to render him "in custody".

Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984)-A routine traffic stop does not rise to the level of "in custody" status for the purpose of the Miranda ruling. Curbside questioning of a person can be conducted without the Miranda warning as long as the person is not subjected to "in custody" treatment.  If the officer plans on arresting the person, but does not articulate that to the person, the plan has no bearing on whether the person was "in custody" at any particular time. The court also confirmed in this case that the Miranda warnings are required regardless of whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony when the person is "in custody" and questioned. 

New York v. Quarles, 467 US 649 (1984)-Public safety exception to the Miranda ruling. Quarles raped a woman at gun point. He was located in a supermarket. The police chased, caught and arrested him in the store. The officer found he was wearing an empty gun holster. The officer asked Quarles where the gun was without reading him his rights. The USSC ruled that the police had an immediate public safety reason to recover the gun.

Oregon v. Elstad, 470 US 298 (1985)-"Absent deliberate coercion or improper tactics in obtaining an unwarned statement, a careful and thorough administration of Miranda warnings cures the condition that rendered the unwarned statement inadmissible".

Illinois v. Perkins, 496 US 292 (1990)-The Miranda Warnings are not required when an incarcerated person speaks freely to another inmate who is actually an undercover officer.

Davis v. United States, 512 US 452 (1994)-A suspect must make an unequivocal request for a lawyer in order to effectively invoke his right to counsel.

Kaupp v. Texas, 000 US 02-5636 (2003)-The removal of an adolescent from his home in handcuffs and wearing only underwear, and taken to the station for interrogation about a murder all without probable cause resulted in the exclusion of the confession because the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The reading of the Miranda warnings did not overcome the illegal actions of the officers.

Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon, 000 U.S. 4-10566 (2006)-Article 36(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides that if a person detained by a foreign country "so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State" of such detention, and "inform the [detainee] of his rights under this sub-paragraph." Article 36(2) specifies: "The rights referred to in paragraph 1 ... shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, subject to the proviso ... that the said laws ... must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under this Article are intended." Along with the Convention, the United States ratified the Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, which provides: "Disputes arising out of the ... Convention shall lie within the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice [(ICJ)]." The United States withdrew from the Protocol on March 7, 2005.

Moises Sanchez-Llamas, is a Mexican national was arrested after a shootout with police. After his arrest, he was not advised that he could notify the Mexican Consulate. He made incriminating statements during questioning. The defendant tried to have the statements suppressed on the grounds that the police did not comply with Article 36.

The USSC held: Even assuming without deciding that the Convention creates judicially enforceable rights, suppression is not an appropriate remedy for a violation, and a State may apply its regular procedural default rules to Convention claims.

     (a) Because petitioners are not in any event entitled to relief, the Court need not resolve whether the Convention grants individuals enforceable rights, but assumes, without deciding, that Article 36 does so. Pp. 7-8.

     (b) Neither the Convention itself nor this Court's precedents applying the exclusionary rule support suppression of a defendant's statements to police as a remedy for an Article 36 violation.