The Fifth and Sixth Amendments: Constitutional Regulation of Interrogation
Before moving to the next chapter, students may wish to review what we have learned about how police interrogation practices are regulated by constitutional law.
Instructions: For each problem, indicate which if any doctrines likely prohibit the conduct described. The answer choices are: (1) Miranda Rule, (2) Massiah doctrine, (3) voluntariness requirement, (4) multiple doctrines (indicate which ones), and (5) none (i.e., the suspect has no good arguments based on interrogation law presented so far in this book). Jot down your reasoning briefly. If you are not sure, note why.
Each problem is independent of all other ones.
1) Police suspect someone of dealing drugs but lack good evidence. Officers hide a microphone in the pocket of an undercover agent disguised as a drug buyer. The suspect welcomes the undercover agent into the suspect’s home. However, when the undercover agent asks about drugs, the suspect says, “You must be confused. I don’t have anything to do with drugs.” Frustrated, the agent brandishes a pistol and shouts, “Tell me the truth or I’ll shoot.” The suspect says, “Fine, fine. I sell weed. How much do you need?”
2) A suspect has been indicted for tax evasion. Unable to make bail, the suspect returns to jail. Police plant an undercover agent in the suspect’s cell, disguised as a fellow inmate. The agent asks the suspect about tax evasion and learns important details about the suspect’s crimes.
3) A suspect has been indicted for embezzlement. Released on bail, the suspect goes home. Police send an undercover agent to the suspect’s home. (The agent is a co-conspirator who, without the suspect’s knowledge, has decided to cooperate with prosecutors.) The agent records the suspect describing the embezzlement scheme.
4) A suspect has been indicted for cocaine distribution. Released on bail, the suspect goes to a favorite public park and begins calling friends, sharing the good news about the bail hearing. Police have hidden a microphone on the underside of the suspect’s favorite park bench. Using that device, police overhear the suspect tell friends about continuing illegal activity.
5) A suspect is arrested for robbery. While driving the suspect to the police station, officers converse with one another. One officer says, “Can you believe this guy? I can’t believe I’m stuck in a car with someone who robbed a gas station mini mart, a boy scout troop, and a church. What a piece of human garbage!” Impulsively, the suspect responds, “Listen, I’m not perfect, but I definitely didn’t rob any boy scouts.”