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SCOW to address interrogations and equivocal/unequivocal assertions of Miranda rights

State v. Ulanda M. Green, 2018AP1350-CR, petition for review granted 9/3/19; case activity (including briefs)

Issues:

  1. Whether law enforcement’s “dialogue” with Green amounted to an “interrogation” that should have been preceded by a Miranda warning?

  2. Whether Green invoked her right to remain silent when law enforcement asked her if she would like to make a statement and she responded: “No. I don’t know nothing.”

Green was arrested in connection with a robbery. While in a custodial setting, law enforcement engaged her in an extensive dialogue about its investigation of the crimes, the evidence in its possession, its identification of the real robber, a video depicting her conduct. In response to the officer’s comments and questions, Green said that she had received stolen property. “Nothing to see here,” said the court of appeals. Confronting a suspect with evidence or summarizing the results of an investigation does not amount to an interrogation under State v. Hambly, 2008 WI 10, 307 Wis. 2d 98, 745 N.W.2d 48.  Well, what does? SCOW will soon enlighten us!

Afterwards, law enforcement read Green her rights and  was asked if she wanted to make a statement, and she said “No. I don’t know nothing.” The circuit court and court and court of appeals found this to be an ambiguous invocation of the right to remain silent. See our post here. However, several justices recently split over the test for an equivocal versus an unequivocal assertion of Miranda rights. See our post on State v. Cummings and State v. Adrean smith, 2014 WI 88, ¶64, 357 Wis. 2d 1, 850 N.W.2d 915. The composition of SCOW has changed quite a bit over the past 5 years, so it will be interesting to see how the justices line up on this issue.

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