Waiving the Fifth Amendment Privileges Interactions








Jean is arrested by Officer Handleman for putting graffiti on walls around town. When Handleman first puts the cuffs on Jean says “Don’t worry, I ain’t gonna ask for no attorney. I’m sure you and I can work somethin’ out. I know things ‘bout stuff goin’ on.” Handleman simply says “Shut up, would ‘ya!” and puts Jean in the car. On the way to the station Jean says “I’m happy to talk to you ‘bout bigger fish out there.” Handleman repeats his brusque warning. At the station house Handleman reads Jean her rights and hands her a form to sign to acknowledge that she was given her Miranda warning. She then says “I wanna waive my rights.” Can she waive her rights at this time?
Choice 1 Yes, because she is now in the station house and likely to be interrogated.
Choice 2 Yes, because she can waive her rights at any time after being told of her rights.
Choice 3 No, because her Fifth Amendment rights are Constitutional guarantees and she cannot simply give up a Constitutional right.
Choice 4 No, because she has already effectively waived her rights by her previous statements.
Ron Pardoe is arrested for yelling “Fire!” during a showing of the classic movie “Inferno” in a crowded theater. He is brought to the local police station where he is properly Mirandized and left alone in a room with a “Confession Form.” He fills out the form, signs at the bottom, and patiently awaits the officer’s return, all the while thinking to himself how unlike the movies the interrogation room looks and wondering why he didn’t see any boxes of donuts on the Detective’ desks outside. Ron also wonders when they replaced the bare bulb hanging from the ceiling with the long fluorescent bulbs he now sees there. Which of the following statements is most relevant?
Choice 1 Ron has not waived his Miranda rights because he has not explicitly told the officer that he intends to do so.
Choice 2 Ron has waived his Miranda rights because he completed the form voluntarily without requesting the presence of counsel.
Choice 3 Ron has watched too many movies, lives in a fantasy, and is therefore incapable of making an intelligent decision about much of anything.
After signing the “Confession Form” in the question above, Officer Brady enters the interrogation room. “I’m glad you decided to come clean,” he says. “Say, you wouldn’t know anything about the bag of drugs we found under the seat you had been in at the theater, now, would you?” Ron tells Brady he’d like to remain silent and asks for his lawyer. “I’d be glad to accommodate you sir,” says Brady, but by signing this Confession Form you already waived you rights. Too bad, so sad. Now talk!”

Is officer Brady right?

Choice 1 Yes, because by signing the Confession Form Ron has effectively waived his rights for the duration of the interrogation.
Choice 2 Yes, because by signing the Confession Form Ron has effectively waived his rights for an unspecified period of time, and while he could re-assert his rights if the interrogation drags on, he cannot change his min after just a few minutes and assert his rights now.
Choice 3 No, Ron may exercise his Fifth Amendment privileges at any time, even if he has already waived those privileges regarding prior questions.
Choice 4 No, because Ron’s willingness to sign a form does not indicate a willingness to answer oral questioning.
Elaine Marbeck and her sons from East Salem, New York, are once again in trouble with the law over marijuana fields discovered on their extensive property. Elaine and her older sons Mark and Dick are arrested and brought to the police station. Elaine’s fifteen year old daughter, Susie, is also arrested. Susie is a good girl who gets straight A’s in school and never gets in trouble. There was that one time, in band camp, but that’s not really relevant. Elaine is brought into an interrogation room, Mirandized and then asked questions about the marijuana. Tired of going to jail, she decides to keep her mouth shut this time and wait for her lawyer. She does not actually request her lawyer – instead, she simply refuses to say a word. When Sheriff Crane realizes that Elaine is unlikely to respond he puts her in a cell across the hall from Susie’s. Elaine is alone in her cell. Susie shares her cell with several experienced prostitutes. After a few minutes Elaine is brought back into the interrogation room. She is Mirandized again and says she’s willing to confess. She is handed a “Miranda Waiver Form” which she signs, and her confession is then tape recorded. Can the confession be used against her in her trial?
Choice 1 Yes, because she was properly Mirandized.
Choice 2 Yes, because she was properly Mirandized and signed the Waiver Form.
Choice 3 No, because her decision to wait for her lawyer means all questioning should have stopped until his arrival.
Choice 4 No, because arresting Susie and placing her in the cell with the prostitutes constitutes coercive conduct.
Dilbert is arrested by Officer Coshon for computer theft. He is brought to the local precinct house and properly Mirandized. He is then left in the general holding pen used for all the precinct’s male prisoners for approximately one hour (it’s lunch time for Coshon). Also in the cell is a suspected rapist, a suspected drug dealer, and two drunks who got in a fight and are sleeping it off. Dilbert has led a protected life and has never been around any criminal element, “except,” he thinks to himself, “those guys I sold the computers to.” After about an hour he is brought into an interrogation room, Mirandized again, and asked about the missing computers. He admits to the theft and pleads with the officer to get him out of the holding pen and “away from those bad, bad people.” Can the confession be used as evidence against Dilbert in his trial for the theft?
Choice 1 Yes, because he was properly Mirandized and chose to waive his rights.
Choice 2 Yes, because “white-collar” crimes were not contemplated when the Fifth Amendment was enacted and are not covered by its protections.
Choice 3 No, because the confession was coerced.
Choice 4 No, because Coshon could have eaten his lunch later.

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