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View Diary: SCOTUS: Don't Talk To Strangers In Your Jail Cell (100 comments)

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  •  I'm doing a thought experiment on this one. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, FishOutofWater, browneyes

    If this had not been a plant -- in other words, a typical prison snitch -- I expect the testimony would be completely admissible.  If this had been a plant outside of a jail -- a typical police informant -- it similarly would have been OK.  That seems to leave objections only because of the potential for abuse.  A standard for abuse is what's needed, and it looks like the Court said this doesn't rise to that standard.

    Methinks they'll see this again; the next time, abuse will be alleged.

    Après le thé, le déluge. -- Glenn Beck, aka Napoleon XIV

    by mspicata on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 10:36:10 AM PDT

    •  I don't think abuse is the issue (7+ / 0-)

      It's that the accused was in custody and, effectively, being interrogated by the State without a lawyer present.

      •  so he was in a holding cell? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skywaker9, earicicle, browneyes

        he was "in custody". Had he been charged yet? sorry I dont know squat, but this is interesting. Guess I better go back and re-read.

        No Miranda warnings were given to the defendant, nor was he otherwise alerted to the fact that he was speaking to a state agent.

        Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

        by Lady Libertine on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 10:40:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If this part is accurate -- (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skywaker9, Irixsh, browneyes

        [H]e said to Donnie Ray that he appeared to have "something more serious weighing in on his mind," to which Donnie Ray said, yeah, "[h]e’d shot this man in his head and in his chest" and taken "his keys, his wallet, about $350.00, and ... a vehicle."

        -- then the definition of interrogation is being stretched, IMHO.

        Après le thé, le déluge. -- Glenn Beck, aka Napoleon XIV

        by mspicata on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 10:40:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  from the opinion below (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mspicata, browneyes

          Supreme Court of Kansas (in the dissent):

          [Johnnie] Doser was approached by Steve Fryback (it appears, but is not clear, that Fryback is a law enforcement officer) and was asked if he would be willing to be placed in Ventris' cell to listen for and report what he might say. Doser testified that he was specifically told "[j]ust to keep [his] ear open and listen . . . to what he had to say."

          The first day Doser was in the cell with Ventris, he was not very talkative. On the second day, Doser told Ventris that he could tell by the look in his eyes that he had something more serious weighing on his mind. Ventris than asked Doser if he could trust him. Doser told Ventris that he could. Ventris asked Doser if what he said would stay in the room between them, and Doser said it would. Ventris then showed Doser a piece of paper which showed he had been arrested as a suspect in a murder. Ventris told Doser he would show him his hand in a little bit. After that, Ventris told Doser that he and his girlfriend Rhonda had gone to rob somebody, but it went sour. He said he shot a man in his head and chest, and that he took his keys, his wallet, $350, and a vehicle.

          Doser testified that he did not push Ventris for any information and he did not ask him any details. According to Doser, Ventris volunteered information and he simply let Ventris do the talking.

          •  Ah. Dissembling. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            browneyes

            Ventris than asked Doser if he could trust him. Doser told Ventris that he could. Ventris asked Doser if what he said would stay in the room between them, and Doser said it would.

            That, coming from a plant in a jail cell, I have a problem with, though I still don't exactly see an interrogation there.  There's a fine line here; I'm not surprised the Court chose not to draw it using this case.

            Après le thé, le déluge. -- Glenn Beck, aka Napoleon XIV

            by mspicata on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 11:19:48 AM PDT

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            •  in other words ... (4+ / 0-)

              ... if the informant was instructed to and did actively ask questions, potentially different result?  Because when you look at Miranda and the coerced confession cases, it doesn't matter whether it was the carrot or the stick that worked.

              •  That's why (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                browneyes

                YAAL and IAN.  Good point.

                Après le thé, le déluge. -- Glenn Beck, aka Napoleon XIV

                by mspicata on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 11:37:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  read one of my favorites (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mspicata, earicicle, browneyes, Jyrinx

                  Brewer v. Williams (1977), a/k/a "the Christian burial speech" case.  Here's the situation: guy accused of murder (child's body not yet found) has a lawyer, talks to his lawyer, is Mirandized, lawyer reminds him and tells police officers that when they're driving the accused back across the state for a 160 mile drive (a ride in which the lawyer wasn't allowed to be in the car) they weren't to interrogate him about the case at all.  But the detective does happen to say in that car ...

                  I want to give you something to think about while we're traveling down the road. . . . Number one, I want you to observe the weather conditions, it's raining, it's sleeting, it's freezing, driving is very treacherous, visibility is poor, it's going to be dark early this evening. They are predicting several inches of snow for tonight, and I feel that you yourself are the only person that knows where this little girl's body is, that you yourself have only been there once, and if you get a snow on top of it you yourself may be unable to find it. And, since we will be going right past the area on the way into Des Moines, I felt that we could stop and locate the body, that the parents of this little girl should be entitled to a Christian burial for the little girl who was snatched away from them on Christmas [E]ve and murdered. And I feel we should stop and locate it on the way in, rather than waiting until morning and trying to come back out after a snow storm, and possibly not being able to find it at all.

                  Just keep reading.

                  •  Nice case. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    browneyes, Jyrinx

                    Give the detective points for creativity, TBS. Here's a stab at reconciling the two cases:  In the first, those statements became primary evidence; in the second, they were used to counter testimony.

                    OTOH, given twenty two years and the change in Court composition, they may be unreconcilable, and Brewer v. Williams might have been decided differently by this SCOTUS.  It was 5-4 the first time, after all.

                    Après le thé, le déluge. -- Glenn Beck, aka Napoleon XIV

                    by mspicata on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 11:56:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Makes me wanna watch Homicide again :-) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    browneyes

                    They do something similar in one scene — they've got the suspect in the box, and his lawyer won't let them interrogate, so they just all go in there and start yakking to each other until they provoke the perp into saying something.

                    (Now, much of Homicide was based on actual cases (like the old copy-machine-as-lie-detector trick), but that one wasn't in the book, so I dunno if it's real.)

                    Denny Crane: But if he supports a law, and then agrees to let it lapse … then that would make him …

                    Shirley Schmidt: A Democrat.

                    by Jyrinx on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 12:19:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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