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Miranda – Exceptions – Booking Questions

State v. Joseph K. Bryant, 2001 WI App 41, 241 Wis. 2d 554, 624 N.W.2d 865
For Bryant: Suzanne L. Hagopian, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether the “routine booking question” exception to Miranda permitted questions about biographical data.

Holding: Miranda warnings need not precede routine questions that merely gather background biographical data in the booking process. ¶14. “To qualify for the application of the exception, the questions must be asked by an agency ordinarily involved in booking suspects, must be asked during a true booking and must be asked shortly after the suspect has been taken into custody.” ¶15. Moreover, there is no blanket exception: the test is whether, “in light of all the circumstances, the police should have known that a question was reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.” ¶17. Here, the charge was possession of a controlled substance, within 1000 feet of a school zone; Bryant argues that the booking questions about his residence were intended to elicit incriminating responses that he lived in the residence where the drugs were found, showing dominion and control. Emphasizing that the questions were asked by the agency responsible for booking (rather than, for example, by an officer at the scene of the arrest), and that the police already had sufficient evidence connecting Bryant to the residence, the court applies the booking exception to uphold admissibility. ¶¶23-25.

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