Arizona v. Mauro

LOCATION: Arizona State Prison

DOCKET NO.: 85-2121
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: Arizona Supreme Court

CITATION: 481 US 520 (1987)
ARGUED: Mar 31, 1987
DECIDED: May 04, 1987

Jack Roberts - on behalf of the Petitioners
Kathleen Kelly Walsh - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Arizona v. Mauro

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 31, 1987 in Arizona v. Mauro

William H. Rehnquist:

We will hear argument now in Number 85-2121, Arizona versus William Carl Mauro.

Mr. Roberts, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Jack Roberts:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The Arizona Supreme Court has said that permitting William Carl Mauro's wife, at her insistence and against the advice of a detective, to speak with him with an officer present constituted the functional equivalent of custodial interrogation.

We maintain that in reaching that conclusion, the Arizona Supreme Court misapplied this Court's reasoning, analysis and concerns in both the Miranda and Rhode Island versus Innis decisions.

When we hearken back to Innis, it explained in detail what Miranda meant and that encompasses this Court's definition of custodial interrogation and the functional equivalent of it.

We find that the Court's concerns, as voiced in Innis, were that the combination of interrogation and custody might work a compulsion upon the will of the accused that might subject him to the will of his examiner and undermine his privilege against compulsory self-examination.

However, this Court also said in Innis an important thing that was ignored by the Arizona Supreme Court in its analysis here, and that was that interrogation as conceived in Miranda and as clarified in Innis had to involve a degree of compulsion, and that must be police compulsion, above that which is necessarily inherent in custody itself.

Now, the only thing, Your Honors, that happened in this case was that Linda Mauro insisted upon seeing her husband.

The police acquiesced in that request, and that an officer was present for valid reasons, the trial court found, and the officer overheard incriminating statements and tape recorded them with a tape recorder that was in full view, of which Mr. Mauro was aware, and the trial court also specifically made that finding.

We submit that simply is not the functional equivalent of custodial interrogation under this Court's cases under Miranda or under Rhode Island versus Innis.

That requires an added degree of compulsion above that which is inherent in custody itself.

That simply is not present.

This Court also said in Innis that "interrogation" means words or actions on the part of the police, that police should know are reasonably likely to provoke an incriminating response.

But one has to read that in conjunction with the other requirement and the other part of the definition of interrogation, and that is, it has to reflect compulsion above and beyond that which is inherent in custody itself.

That simply... that test is not made here, and this Court, reversing the Rhode Island Supreme Court in Innis, noted that where two patrolmen were talking in a patrol car in the presence of the defendant and expressed their concern about some child at a school for the handicapped finding the shotgun that Innis had concealed, this Court said that the Rhode Island Supreme Court correctly found that there was some degree of subtle compulsion but that was not enough.

And there, we have police doing the talking right in the defendant's presence and the defendant, of course, in the back of the patrol car was a captive audience.

So, we submit that the standard of Innis is simply not met in this case.

Very simply, there was no interrogation within the meaning of Innis, which clarified Miranda.

This Court said in Innis also that not all statements obtained after one has been arrested are necessarily barred from use and that totally volunteered statements do not violate the Fifth Amendment privilege.

We have cited to this Court the Seventh Circuit's decision in United States ex rel. Church versus DeRobertis.

There, Kelly Church, the older brother of Michael Church, asked the police to please place him in the cell with his brother Michael, and he told the police he was going to try to persuade Michael to confess to get their younger brother, Casey, out of trouble.

Police, knowing Kelly was going to try to persuade Michael to confess, did place him in Michael's cell.

The Seventh Circuit said that is not the equivalent of custodial interrogation by the police under Rhode Island versus Innis.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Mr. Roberts, are you asking that we cut back on Rhode Island against Innis?

Jack Roberts:

No, Your Honor.

I am simply saying that the standard you enunciated there does not apply to the facts of this case.

Harry A. Blackmun:

You don't think this is just a fact bound application of Innis?

Jack Roberts:

No, Your Honor, because whether or not it was interrogation is a question of law, and I am submitting that as a question of law the Arizona Supreme Court was wrong.

But what I am saying was, the Seventh Circuit rejected a similar attack by Michael Church in the case we have cited in our brief.