Monday, July 19, 2010

Extent of Miranda Rights Tested by People v. Tate

The California Supreme Court affirmed a ruling on July 8th that statements made by Oakland Police Department Officers during the interrogation of a suspect did not invalidate his Miranda rights.

Gregory Tate was placed in custody by the Oakland Police Department (OPD) after he was observed driving the vehicle of a woman who was murdered and robbed the day before. Tate was taken to the homicide division of the OPD, where officers initially told him that they were investigating the car he had in his possession because the vehicle had been stolen and the woman who owned it was "hurt."

The Court found that this statement was not enough to invalidate Tate's two separate occasions upon which he waived his Miranda rights. The Court also acknowledged that by telling Tate that the victim was "hurt," he was aware that he was being investigated for more than car theft. He also understood that he was in the homicide division of the Police Department after asking an officer at the beginning of his second interview.

This decision established that individuals do not have to be informed of all the information they may find "useful" when making a decision to waive Miranda rights.

This case is: People v. Tate, Cal.Sup.Ct.; July 8, 2010; SO31641.