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Oregon v. Mathiason

The Court Clarifies Miranda

In a per curiam opinion (one that is not credited to any particular justice), the Court recounted the facts and procedural disposition of the case and conducted a quick analysis. Miranda, according to the Court, was directed toward police procedures in "custodial interrogations." Citing Miranda, the Court explained that custodial interrogation is "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." In this case, Mathiason was not in custody or deprived of his freedom of action. Mathiason was free to leave the patrol office, and he in fact did leave the patrol office after giving his confession. The Court acknowledged that the interview may have been somewhat coercive, but "[a]ny interview of one suspected of a crime by a police officer will have coercive aspects to it" because "the police officer is part of a law enforcement system which may ultimately cause the suspect to be charged with a crime." Nevertheless, "Miranda warnings are required only where there has been such a restriction on a person's freedom as to render him `in custody.'"

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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