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Voluntary Statement: Following Voluntary Miranda Waiver

State v. Dionny L. Reynolds, 2010 WI App 56; for Reynolds: Russell D. Bohach; BiCResp. Br.

Statement voluntary, following multiple interviews while in custody on unrelated offense:

¶45      Balancing Reynolds’ personal characteristics against the totality of the police detectives’ conduct, we note, first and foremost, that Reynolds voluntarily waived his Miranda rights before making his incriminating statement. Generally speaking, “giving the warnings and getting a waiver has … produced a virtual ticket of [a statement’s] admissibility.” See Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600, 608-09 (2004). While Reynolds argues that the statement itself was involuntary, he does not argue that the waiver was involuntary. Nor could he successfully make such an argument given his age, education, experience in the criminal justice system, and the fact that he had waived his rights on five previous occasions over the prior seven-day period. “[C]ases in which a defendant can make a colorable argument that a self-incriminating statement was ‘compelled’ despite the fact that the law enforcement authorities adhered to the dictates of Miranda are rare.” Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 433 n.20 (1984). And there is nothing special about this case that transforms it into one of those rare cases.

¶50      Detective Spano merely made an appeal to Reynolds’ conscience and in doing so was not overly manipulative—especially in light of other interview practices which have withstood attacks on the voluntariness of confessions. …

¶51      Reynolds did not make an incriminating statement until after being informed of and waiving his Miranda rights. This is not an instance where a defendant chose to exercise a right and was then approached by officers for questioning. Reynolds—an adult with an extensive criminal background, who was literate in the English language, and who had been advised of his rights on at least five different occasion in the seven days leading up to his confession—indicated he understood his Miranda rights and waived those rights before confessing to shooting Agent Balchunas. When we view that fact in combination with Reynolds’ other personal characteristics and the totality of the detectives’ behavior leading up to his confession, we conclude that his confession was voluntary and not the result of coercive police conduct.

Hard to see the need for publication. Especially now, when you can cite unpublished decisions for persuasive effect. Fact-specific, settled law.

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