New Jersey Criminal Lawyer – Appellate Opinions – Maryland v. Shatzer

Maryland v. Shatzer, 130 S. Ct. 1213 (2010).

Edwards created a presumption that once a suspect invokes the Miranda right to the presence of counsel, any waiver of that right in response to a subsequent police attempt at custodial interrogation is involuntary. Edwards ‘ fundamental purpose is to “[p]reserv[e] the integrity of an accused’s choice to communicate with police only through counsel, by “prevent[ing] police from badgering [him] into waiving his previously asserted Miranda rights,” It is easy to believe that a suspect’s later waiver was coerced or badgered when he has been held in uninterrupted Miranda custody since his first refusal to waive. He remains cut off from his normal life and isolated in a “police-dominated atmosphere,” But where a suspect has been released from custody and returned to his normal life for some time before the later attempted interrogation, there is little reason to think that his change of heart has been coerced. Because the Edwards presumption has been established by opinion of this Court, it is appropriate for this Court to specify the period of release from custody that will terminate its application. The Court concludes that the appropriate period is 14 days, which provides ample time for the suspect to get re-acclimated to his normal life, consult with friends and counsel, and shake off any residual coercive effects of prior custody.

Shatzer’s release back into the general prison population constitutes a break in Miranda custody. Lawful imprisonment imposed upon conviction does not create the coercive pressures produced by investigative custody that justify Edwards. When previously incarcerated suspects are released back into the general prison population, they return to their accustomed surroundings and daily routine-they regain the degree of control they had over their lives before the attempted interrogation. Their continued detention is relatively disconnected from their prior unwillingness to cooperate in an investigation. The “inherently compelling pressures” of custodial interrogation ended when Shatzer returned to his normal life.

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