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NJ Miranda Rule and Spontaneous Statements

02
Jan
2010

by in Criminal Defense

It is well-settled that statements made during custodial interrogation are inadmissible unless preceded by Miranda warnings. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). “Interrogation” in this context had been defined as express questioning or its functional equivalent. Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 301 (1980). The test to determine whether a defendant has been the subject of the functional equivalent of interrogation is whether the police knew, or should have known, that their conduct was reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the person. An “incriminating response” is any response – whether inculpatory or exculpatory – that the prosecution may seek to introduce at trial. State v. Ward, 240 N.J. Super. 412, 418 (App. Div. 1990).

However, If a criminal defendant has not been interrogated, and instead makes a spontaneous and voluntary statement, the statement is admissible against the defendant. Id. at 419. This is true provided that the statement was not the product of enticement, encouragement, solicitation or the non-verbal investigative techniques designed to elicit a response. Id. at 417.

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