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Media > Newsletters > Law Enforcement Bulletin > September 2013 > Constitutional Requirements (Miranda): State v. Matthews

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Constitutional Requirements (Miranda): State v. Matthews

Question: When a suspect refuses to waive Miranda but keeps talking and offers voluntary statements about the case, can those statements we used against the suspect?
Quick Answer: Yes, if you don’t ask him any questions or otherwise provoke, coerce, or induce him to talk.

State v. Matthews, Twelfth Appellate District, Butler County, Aug. 12, 2013
Facts: Detective Paul Davis had spoken with Sean Matthews on two occasions regarding allegations of child enticement, gross sexual imposition, and public indecency. The first was at his home and the second was at the station. During the second discussion, Matthews was placed under arrest, and Davis read Matthews his Miranda rights. Matthews refused to sign the card waiving his rights, but continued to talk and say he had done nothing wrong. Davis asked no questions of Matthews. During the booking process, Matthews remained chatty and told Davis he had driven his roommate’s vehicle on the days of the incidents in question, but said nothing had happened. (The alleged misconduct reportedly took place in that vehicle.) Davis then asked Matthews why he had lied to him about driving the car in an earlier interview, and Matthews said it was because he was driving under suspension. Matthews later was convicted and asked the court to suppress his statements. Although Matthews refused to sign a waiver, he continued to make statements during booking. The court determined that Matthews had been properly given his Miranda warnings and most of his statements were not in response to an interrogation, therefore the waiver was not necessary. There was no evidence that the statements were provoked, coerced, or otherwise induced by police. The only statement that the court suppressed was the response to the direct question concerning lying in a previous interview. All of the other statements were determined to be voluntary.
Importance: If you have a chatty suspect who does not waive Miranda, it may be best to let him keep talking without asking questions. There is a fine line between voluntary statements and a suspect arguing the statements were provoked, especially when you ask a question.
Keep in Mind: When a suspect has not waived Miranda, you are not to question him without his attorney present.
More on Constitutional Requirements
Terry  stops with weapons drawn: You learn that a suspect in a home invasion was tracked down at a local hotel. En route to the hotel, you learn that another individual, who is now waiting in the adjacent fast-food parking lot, has dropped off the suspect. You have a warrant, and because you believe the suspect is dangerous, you wait for him to make a move. You watch as the suspect walks out of the hotel room and the car flashes its light twice. While other officers apprehend the suspect, you go to the vehicle with your gun drawn. You order the individual out of the car, but he reaches for his waistband. You remove him from the vehicle, handcuff him, and pat him down, finding a gun and drugs. You arrest him. Did this lawful investigatory stop turn into an unlawful arrest? No. In U.S. v. Davis, the court determined that based on the conduct and behavior of both the suspect and driver, the officers were justified in taking precautions by drawing and displaying weapons, removing the driver from the car, and handcuffing him for their own safety. The court also determined the officers had reasonable suspicion to investigate the vehicle for evidence related to the home invasions. U.S. v. Davis, Sixth Circuit, Western Michigan, Aug. 12, 2013.