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Should you be read your Miranda rights if you’re already in jail?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If an arrest is made and the police intend to interrogate a suspect, then it’s the responsibility of the police to read out the person’s Miranda rights. Miranda rights include the following:

  • The right to remain silent. Anything said can be used against a suspect in a court of law.
  • The right to consult with a lawyer who is present during an interrogation.
  • A lawyer can be appointed as representation if one can’t be afforded.
  • The right to stop any questioning at any time without the presence of a lawyer.

Miranda rights must be read before a custody interrogation. If the police fail to read out a suspect’s Miranda rights before an interrogation, then it’s possible for the suspect to create a legal defense to dismiss evidence in a criminal case.

In 2011, it was questioned whether someone in jail should be read their Miranda rights for an investigation unrelated to their current incarceration. It was initially believed that a prisoner should have their Miranda rights read to them. Yet, there’s more to the decision that should be understood. Here’s what you should know:

Understanding the conclusion of Howes v. Fields

A man was sentenced to 45 days in prison for disorderly conduct. He was removed from his cell and interrogated under the suspicion that he had sexually assaulted a child thirteen years of age. He was not read his Miranda rights prior to this investigation. However, he was told on multiple occasions that he had the right to return to his cell at any time. He allowed the interrogation to continue for several hours, eventually admitting to the sexual abuse.

He filed an appeal stating that he was never informed of his Miranda rights for this interrogation, violating his constitutional rights. His confession and conviction were thrown out until the Supreme Court overturned the ruling. The Supreme Court believed that the man’s imprisonment didn’t place him in a situation for Miranda purposes and that he was given the option to end questioning at any time.

Howes v. Fields can help inform how a criminal defense should be approached. People who believe their constitutional rights were violated may need to reach out to experienced legal guidance as they defend against criminal charges.