The New Jersey Police Chief Magazine | November 2022
Continued from previous page
warnings . I have seen this done many times where confessions were successfully obtained . But such interviews need to be carefully planned .
A common practice is to emphasize to the person they are not in custody , they do not have to speak to you , and they can leave at any time . Then take any voluntary statement , recorded whenever possible , the person is willing to give . At the conclusion of the interview the person is sent on their way with an appointment to return with their attorney for subsequent arrest processing . The risk with this strategy is a judge may rule that the person was in custody , despite your intent and actions , which is why it is important to follow the suggested steps . I have found through practice and case law that if the person leaves the presence of the police without being arrested at that time , the case is often successful .
This approach is inappropriate for more serious crimes , but it can be a viable option for nonviolent offences . It is also not an example of being “ procedurally creative .” This is different than the practice used in Seibert . It is adhering to the law as it exists and being open and honest about it . If , during any such interview , the person refuses to answer questions or requests an attorney , then the interview needs to cease immediately .
The legal landscape pertaining to interrogations and confessions can be complicated and confusing for officers to navigate . But some things are simple and straightforward . The Tekoh ruling is one of these simple things and it should be a non-event for all law enforcement officers . Miranda warnings should be administered as they were before the case was decided .
Sources and Notes : Miranda v . Arizona , 86 S . Ct . 1602 ( 1966 ). Vega v . Tekow , 142 S . Ct . 2095 ( 2022 ). Dickerson v . U . S ., 120 S . Ct . 2326 at 2336 ( 2000 ). Missouri v . Siebert , 124 S . Ct . 2601 ( 2004 ). See Oregon v . Elstad , 105 S . Ct . 1285 ( 1985 ). The Seibert decision does not overrule Elstad as there are circumstances when a subsequent fully warned statement is sufficiently attenuated from the initial unwarned statement to allow its admission . The key to the Seibert decision was the fact the two-step process used was designed to circumvent the rule of Miranda . The Siebert court ruled 5-4 in favor of affirming the suppression of the statements but with a plurality opinion . Do a Google search for “ police noble cause corruption ” — there will be plenty for you to read .
MICHAEL RANALLI , Esq ., is a Program Manager II for Lexipol . He retired in 2016 after 10 years as chief of the Glenville ( N . Y .) Police Department . He began his career in 1984 with the Colonie ( N . Y .) Police Department and held the ranks of patrol officer , sergeant , detective sergeant and lieutenant . Mike is also an attorney and is a frequent presenter on various legal issues including search and seizure , use of force , legal aspects of interrogations and confessions , wrongful convictions , and civil liability . He is a consultant and instructor on police legal issues to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services , and has taught officers around New York State for the last 15 years in that capacity . Mike is also a past president of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police , a member of the IACP Professional Standards , Image & Ethics Committee , and the former Chairman of the New York State Police Law Enforcement Accreditation Council . He is a graduate of the 2009 F . B . I . -Mid-Atlantic Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar and is a Certified Force Science Analyst .