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Defendant wasn’t in custody when he was questioned while sitting in DNR warden’s truck

State v. David A. Myhre, 2014AP376-CR, District 4, 10/23/14 (1-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

Myhre was not in custody for Miranda purposes when he answered questions posed by a DNR warden while sitting in the warden’s truck. Thus, the warden was not required to advise Myhre of his Miranda rights.

Myhre was being questioned by the warden about illegal deer hunting. The circuit court found that the warden interviewed Myhre in the DNR truck without advising Myhre of his Miranda rights. The warden told Myhre he was not under arrest and that he “could leave at any time.” Myhre told the warden that he understood and that he would answer the warden’s questions. Myhre was not restrained in any way, he was not transported to the county jail, and he was not “handcuffed, frisked or ordered to the ground at gunpoint.” After Myhre answered the warden’s questions, the warden drafted a “voluntary statement” based on Myhre’s answers. The warden read the statement to Myhre, who suggested corrections that both parties initialed. Myhre then signed the statement. (¶¶3-8).

The court of appeals concludes that on these facts Myhre was not in custody for Miranda purposes. (¶¶10-11). Myhre doesn’t show the circuit court’s factual findings are clearly erroneous, and to the extent he argues he was in custody even if the factual findings are true, his argument fails both on the merits and because it’s undeveloped. (¶¶14, 19) “In sum, Myhre’s freedom was not curtailed to the degree associated with formal arrest and a reasonable person in his position would not have believed he was in custody.” (¶19).

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