UH Law Library's Blog

February 24, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Finds “Break in Custody” Exception to Miranda

Filed under: Electronic Resources, Free Web — Tags: , — uhlawlibrary @ 8:15 am

The U.S. Supreme Court decided the following case today:

  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680. The interrogation rule of Edwards v. Arizona that, once a suspect in custody has invoked his Fifth Amendment right to the presence of counsel, any subsequent waiver of that right is presumed involuntary unless the suspect himself reinitiated questioning, is limited. This presumption of coercion dissipates once there has been at least a two-week break in “Miranda custody.” Additionally, a suspect who was already serving time for another offense experienced a break in Miranda custody when he was released back into the general prison population; therefore, the police were not prohibited by the Edwards rule from initiating further questioning at the prison years later.  Read more on  BNA U.S. Law Week.
  • SCOTUSblog reports that the decision in Shatzer was unanimous and recognizes “an exception to the 1981 decision in Edwards v. Arizona, and now establishes that a “break in custody” permits the police to resume questioning a suspect who had previously asked for a lawyer. Furthermore, seven members of the Court rule that if the break in custody lasts more than two weeks between interrogations, the Edwards decision does not apply to suppress a confession.”

The Law Library at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii makes this resource and many others available to faculty, students and staff of the Law School and to other patrons visiting the Law Library.


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