Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for Quarles

New York v Quarles 
[June 12, 1984, decided 5-4]

A woman approached two police officers and stated she had been raped, gave a description of her assailant including that he was carrying a gun, and stated he had entered a nearby supermarket.  The officers entered the supermarket and found Benjamin Quarles who fit the description.  He was handcuffed and frisked.  The officer found an empty gun holster.  He said to Quarles “where's the gun?”  Quarles answered with “it's over there” and gestured with his head in the direction where the officer found a gun.  Thereafter, the officer read Quarles his Miranda rights.  The trial court ruled that Quarles' Miranda rights had been violated because he was questioned prior to being read his rights.

The Supreme Court ruled there is a public safety exception to the required Miranda warning.  Since the police officer's request for the location of the gun was prompted by an immediate need to assure that the gun did not fall into the hands of a customer or a potential accomplice to Quarles and would not be used to injure an innocent bystander, the officer's failure to read the Miranda warning did not violate the Constitution.  This exception is limited to questions focused on the immediate danger and will not carry forward after the danger has passed.

Other cases which erode the Miranda requirement, mentioned in my A is for Arizona post on April 1, 2017:

Berghuis v. Thompkins (2010) - The right to remain silent does not exist unless a suspect invokes it unambiguously.  Silence during the interrogation does not invoke the right to remain silent. 

Salinas v. Texas (2013) - A witness or suspect cannot invoke the privilege by simply standing mute; he or she must expressly invoke it.  This means if a person wants to invoke his right to remain silent, he must specifically state he is invoking that right.  If he does, then the state cannot comment at trial that he refused to answer the question.

Did you guess right?
Here's Friday's hint - R is for Riley.  Can you guess the case and what it's about?  Leave a comment!

10 comments:

  1. I had no idea you had to explicitly state you wanted to remain silent. I assumed being silent would be enough. WeekendsInMaine

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    1. If you're invoking your right, you need to invoke your right. Otherwise, the prosecution can comment on your failure to speak up at your trial. If you invoke your right, they can't mention it at trial.

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  2. I can't really imagine telling where a gun is if I had just committed a crime. That sounds rather counter-productive to me. Then again, I can't imagine committing a crime like that, either.

    Visiting from the A to Z Challenge. You can see my "Q" post here: https://lydiahowe.com/2017/04/20/q-is-for-questions-atozchallenge-also-time-for-yall-to-ask-questions/

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    1. Yes, the criminal mind is foreign to most of us.

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  3. How frustrating that must be for the guy to get off on a technicality like that. Glad they had the foresight to fix it in short order.
    Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

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    1. Yes, it has definitely been fixed. And so long as the police don't overstep, we're all safer.

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  4. I took it that the guy did NOT get off on a technicality because when they tried to invoke the technicality, the courts said Nyet!

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    1. The Supreme Court said the police did NOT have to read him his Miranda rights because of the emergency of finding the gun before someone got hurt. So the trial court let him off on that technicality, but the Supreme Court reversed that decision and did not.

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  5. That's an interesting one.

    Calen~
    Impromptu Promptlings
    A to Z Challenge Letter Q

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    1. I think so too. Thanks for stopping by!

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