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Oregon v. Mathiason

A Violation Of Miranda?

The Mathiason case began when an officer of the Oregon State Police was called to investigate a burglary at a home near Pendleton, Oregon. The victim of the burglary named Carl Mathiason as a possible suspect. Mathiason was a friend of the victim's son and was on parole from prison. After the officer tried in vain to contact Mathiason, he left a card for Mathiason, asking him to call on the telephone. Mathiason called the next day, and the officer asked Mathiason to come to the police station to meet. Approximately 90 minutes later, Mathiason arrived at the state patrol office, which was housed in a building with several other state agencies. The officer shook hands with Mathiason and led him to an office, where the two sat at a desk. The officer described the burglary and told Mathiason that he was not under arrest, but he also said that he believed that Mathiason had committed the crime and that the police had found his fingerprints at the scene. The latter statement--that Mathiason's fingerprints had been found--was a fabrication, but Mathiason did not know that. The officer told Mathiason that he would be best served by telling the truth; Mathiason sat for a few minutes and then decided to confess to the crime.

At trial, Mathiason moved the court to exclude evidence of his confession. Mathiason argued that he was entitled to, but did not receive, notice of his Miranda rights, and that he confessed only because he thought it was to his benefit to do so. Mathiason was convicted in a bench trial and his conviction was affirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeals. However, the Supreme Court of Oregon reversed, holding that Mathiason was in custody and was entitled to his Miranda rights. The state of Oregon appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed without hearing oral arguments and without giving it full consideration.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentOregon v. Mathiason - Significance, A Violation Of Miranda?, The Court Clarifies Miranda, Unfaithful To Miranda?, Impact