Maryland v. Shatzer - Oral Argument - October 05, 2009

Maryland v. Shatzer

Media for Maryland v. Shatzer

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 24, 2010 in Maryland v. Shatzer

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 05, 2009 in Maryland v. Shatzer

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We will hear argument first this term in Case 08-680, Maryland v. Shatzer.

General Gansler.

Douglas F. Gansler:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:

This case is here from the Maryland Court of Appeals.

In that case, the court of appeals suppressed a statement that was given by Respondent following what the trial court found to be a valid waiver of his Miranda rights and following a free and voluntary confession.

The reason why the court did so is because, two years and seven months prior to that, the defendant was in a different custodial interrogation and at that time invoked his right to counsel.

We ask that this Court reverse the Maryland Court of Appeals.

It is our position that a break in custody from custodial interrogation should be the bright line that this Court adopts in order to end the irrebuttable presumption that this Court created in the Edwards case.

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

Without regard to the time?

A break in custody of one day, do you think that should be enough?

Douglas F. Gansler:

Your Honor, we do think one day should be enough, as long as it is not in the pretrial detention category.

Obviously, the three cases that have come before this Court, Edwards, Minnick and, Roberson, all -- two of them were three days, and one of them was one day, but those defendants were in the pretrial detention status.

So if in fact a defendant is brought in, questioned, and then released back to his or her daily routine, and away from the isolation of the custodial interrogation, we feel that that should be the bright line for a break in custody.

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

So what if it's repeatedly done?

You know, you -- you bring him in, you give him his Miranda rights.

You let him go.

You bring him in, give him his Miranda rights.

He says, I don't want to talk.

You know, just sort of catch and release, until he finally breaks down and says, All right, I'll talk.

Douglas F. Gansler:

There is parade of horribles of catch and release and Your Honor just went through one of them, and there are obviously a number of hypotheticals that one could posit.

We would suggest that the break of custody would be the end of the Edwards irrebuttable presumption.

However, there are still three responses to that.

The first would be the defendant could still say that his or her Miranda rights were not given voluntarily and willfully.

Secondly, the due process jurisprudence that this Court had prior to Miranda still is in existence, and therefore the defendant could argue that that confession was given in an overborne way, that his will was overborne.

But finally and I think most relevant, because this is sort of the other side of this case, is that there has been -- since 1982 eight Federal circuits and over 20 States have had the break of custody rule in effect.

And in fact this Court in the McNeil case, albeit in dicta and parenthetically, assumed a break in custody as the rule.

There has not been one published opinion, at least that we could find, that has this -- that has that scenario--

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Is the rationale for the break in custody that there is a likelihood of non-coercion?

Is that the reason that you offer for the rule?

Douglas F. Gansler:

--Your Honor, it goes to -- yes, this Court has said, most recently again in Montejo, that the reason for Edwards is that we want to prevent badgering.