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State v. Randy L. Martin, 2010AP505-CR, rev. granted 12/13/11

on review of unpublished decision; for Martin: Byron C. Lichstein; case activity; prior post

Miranda – “Interrogation” 

Issue (composed by On Point):

Whether an exchange between Martin and an officer was the functional equivalent of “interrogation” so as to require interrogation.

The facts, very briefly, as taken from the court of appeals’ decision: Martin was under arrest for DC when an officer fished a gun out of his car. When the officer started to handcuff Martin’s companion, Henry, Martin asked why Henry was being arrested. The officer said it was for CCW, and Martin asked if they’d let Henry go if Martin said the gun was his. The officer replied: “I don’t want you to say it’s yours if its not.  I just want the truth, is the gun yours.” Martin said it was, and the officer asked Martin to describe it. He did.

Miranda warnings didn’t precede this exchange. Custody’s obvious; what about the “interrogation” requirement for Miranda warnings? Martin argues  State v. Bond, 2000 WI App 118, 237 Wis. 2d 633, 614 N.W.2d 552 (in context: statement, “no, I’m the man behind the man” amounted to interrogation, because officer had “specific knowledge” of import of those words). The court of appeals rejected the analogy, deeming applicable instead, State v. Fischer, 2003 WI App 5, ¶21, 259 Wis. 2d 799, 656 N.W.2d 503 (“nothing in the record to indicate that the detectives had any specific knowledge of Fischer or of any unusual susceptibility to questioning he might have had”).

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