Copyright (c) 1997 Ohio State Law Journal
Ohio State Law Journal
Article: Questioning the Question-Proof Inmate: Defining Miranda Custody for Incarcerated Suspects
58 Ohio St. L.J. 883
Laurie Magid *
Some lower courts have held that when a defendant who invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel during police investigation is convicted of a crime and goes to jail, that invocation renders the prisoner question-proof for the entire period of his incarceration. These courts view continuous incarceration as continuous Miranda custody. As a result, police may not question the prisoner about any crime, no matter how much time has passed since the prisoner's invocation, even if the subject matter of the questioning is totally unrelated to the crime for which the prisoner is serving a sentence. The United States Supreme Court has recently expressed an interest in considering whether these prisoners are really question-proof.
Professor Magid argues that this holding is both unnecessary and unwise. Under a more sensible approach, incarceration is not necessarily equivalent to Miranda custody. This approach strikes the proper balance between individual rights and the law enforcement needs of society. A prisoner is in Miranda custody only when some additional restraint, not normally encountered in prison life, is imposed upon him by investigators. Under this view, police would be permitted to approach the prisoner and question him, but only if they first provide the Miranda warnings once again.
Miranda v. Arizona 1 has become a maze 2 in which police officers, lawyers, and judges are left to wonder why Miranda places flexible restraints on some paths of police investigation but absolute roadblocks on others. 3 This Article examines one ...
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