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Noncustodial Administration of Rights: Obviates Need for Custodial Re-Administration

State v. Marchand Grady, 2009 WI 47, affirming summary order
For Grady: Carl W. Chessir

Issue: Whether administration of Miranda rights in a noncustodial setting obviated the need for re-administration of rights when the interview became custodial about 2 and one-half hours later.

Holding:

¶15      Grady advances a creative, but not heretofore unheard of argument. He asks us to adopt a bright-line rule requiring the administration of Miranda warnings after a person is placed in official custody, and asks us to declare any and all Mirandawarnings prior to custody ipso facto ineffective.[4] We are unpersuaded that a bright-line rule is necessary or even desirable, and reiterate that the proper approach for determining whether a suspect has effectively received his Miranda warnings is a totality of the circumstances test. Grady did receive the requisite Miranda warnings at the beginning of his noncustodial interrogation, and in light of the facts of this case, we do not believe the police were required to readminister those warnings once his interrogation became custodial two-and-one-half hours later.

In other words, just because Miranda warnings are required after, but not before, the person is placed in custody doesn’t mean that precustodial warnings can’t suffice, at least “under certain circumstances,” ¶19. And just what are those “circumstances”? Apparently, they are determined case-by-case, which is to say, they are really uncertain, ¶¶20-21 (enumerating the “multiple factors” courts have considered, and adopting them as “helpful but not individually or collectively determinative or exhaustive”). Long and short of it: “We prefer a flexible approach that examines all relevant facts in an effort to determine whether a suspect was sufficiently aware of his or her constitutional rights,” ¶21. Grady’s statement was admissible under this test, given lack of coercive police conduct, lack of indication of any mental impairment, and the short span of time between warnings and onset of custody, ¶¶26-31.

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