“You have the right to remain silent . . . .” Odds are, most Americans can finish this sentence. As Chief Justice Rehnquist noted in Dickerson v. United States, “Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture.” 530 U.S. 428, 443 (2000). As proof of the Miranda Warning’s rightful place in pop culture (right up there next to Jack McCoy) Broadcasting & Cable once proclaimed, “Next to the pledge of allegiance, the Miranda rights may be the most familiar common litany of the baby-boomer generation, thanks to TV.”
While administering the Miranda Warning may be easy, determining whether a suspect in custody voluntarily waived his or her rights before talking to police has proven much more challenging for courts. The law on waiver provides that individuals may waive their Miranda rights and confess to a particular crime if, based on the “totality of the circumstances,” their waiver is voluntary, knowing, and intelligent.
As the Sixth Circuit recently pointed out in Woodley v. Bradshaw:
[b]eyond those general requirements, the Supreme Court has not further detailed what constitutes a knowing and intelligent waiver. We note that a circuit split has developed on whether the holding of Connelly applies to the knowing and intelligent inquiry as well as to the voluntariness one. Some circuits require evidence of police abuse—such as disregarding signs that a defendant is incapable of making a rational waiver in light of his age, experience, and background—as a necessary predicate to finding that a waiver was unknowing and unintelligent, and some analyze knowing and intelligent waiver simply by looking to whether the defendant had the maturity and competence to make a knowing waiver of his rights, regardless of what police knew or should have known. Compare Rice v. Cooper, 148 F.3d 747, 750-51 (7th Cir. 1998) (finding defendant made a knowing and intelligent waiver because there was no evidence of police abuse) with United States v. Bradshaw, 935 F.2d 295, 298-300 (D.C. Cir. 1991) ("We read Connelly, therefore, as holding only that police coercion is a necessary prerequisite to a determination that a waiver was involuntary and not as bearing on the separate question whether the waiver was knowing and intelligent."). This Court is of the former opinion. Garner v. Mitchell, 557 F.3d 257 (6th Cir. 2009) (en banc).
No. 08-3712 (6th Cir. Dec. 20, 2011) (unpublished).