In Commonwealth v. Ingram, 814 A.2d 264 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that Miranda warnings are required whenever a suspect is subject to a “custodial interrogation,” meaning, whenever a person has “been deprived of his [or her] freedom of action in any significant way.” Specifically, the Superior Court found:
Miranda warnings are required where a suspect is subject to custodial interrogation. Custodial interrogation has been defined as “questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his [or her] freedom of action in any significant way.” Interrogation occurs where the police should know that their words or actions are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.
Id. at 270-71. The term Miranda, of course, refer to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) where the high Court upheld the fifth amendment’s constitutional privilege against self-incrimination finding that:
the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. …. Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed.
Id. at 444-45. Since the Miranda decision, the Supreme Court has broadened the scope of this Constitutional protection, noting that a conversation with law enforcement is a custodial interrogation warranting a reading of the Miranda rights whenever "a reasonable person would have felt he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave." Thompson v. Keohane, 516 U.S. 99, 112 (1995).
Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.
Crawford Law Firm
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