Michigan v. Moseley

PETITIONER:State of Michigan
RESPONDENT:Richard Bert Mosley
LOCATION:Detroit Police Headquarters

DOCKET NO.: 74-653
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 423 US 96 (1975)
ARGUED: Oct 06, 1975
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1975
GRANTED: Jan 20, 1975

Carl Ziemba – for respondent
Thomas Khalil – for petitioner

Facts of the case

On April 8, 1971, Richard Mosley was arrested in Detroit in connection with robberies that had occurred at two local restaurants. Mosley was taken to police headquarters, where he was informed of his Miranda rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present. After Mosley signed the police department’s constitutional rights notification certificate, Detective James Cowie began to question Mosley, but he immediately stopped when Mosley said that he did not wish to speak about the robberies. A few hours later, Detective Hill brought Mosley out from his cell to question him about the recent murder of a man named Leroy Williams, and Mosley was again informed of his Miranda rights. At first Mosley denied any involvement, but after being informed that another man had named him as the shooter, he made statements implicating himself in the murder. During the second interrogation, he never asked for a lawyer or refused to answer questions. Mosley was subsequently charged with first-degree murder. Mosley moved to suppress his incriminating statement and argued that Detective Hill’s interrogation and eventual use of his incriminating comment violated his Miranda rights. The trial court denied his motion, and he was found guilty and given the mandatory sentence of life in prison. The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed and held that the trial court’s failure to suppress Mosley’s statement was a per se violation of Mosley’s Miranda rights. The Michigan Supreme Court denied further review.


Does the re-initiation of interrogation after a suspect has invoked his right to silence underMiranda v. Arizona violate the suspect’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to silence and the presence of counsel?

Media for Michigan v. Moseley

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – October 06, 1975 in Michigan v. Moseley

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – December 09, 1975 in Michigan v. Moseley

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Stewart has the opinion to announce in Michigan against Moseley.

Potter Stewart:

This case is here by a way of writ of certiorari granted to the Court of Appeals of the State of Michigan.

The respondent, Richard Moseley, was arrested in Detroit, Michigan on the early afternoon of April 8, 1971, in connection with robberies that had recently occurred at Blue Goose Bar and the White Tower Restaurant on that city’s lower east side.

The arresting officer, Detective James Cowie of the Armed Robbery Section of the Detroit Police Department, brought Mosley to the Robbery and Breaking and Entering Bureau of the Police Department, which was located on the fourth floor of the departmental headquarters building.

The officer advised Mosley of his rights under this Court’s decision in the case of Miranda against Arizona, and he had him read and sign the department’s constitutional rights notification certificate.

After filling out the necessary arrest papers, Officer Cowie began questioning Mosley about the robbery of the White Tower Restaurant.

When Mosley said he did not want to answer any questions about the robberies, Cowie promptly ceased the interrogation.

At no time during the questioning did Mosley indicate a desire to consult with a lawyer, and there is no claim that the procedures followed to this point did not fully comply with the strictures of the Miranda opinion.

Mosley was then taken to a ninth-floor cell block.

Shortly after 6 o’clock in the evening, Detective Hill of the Detroit Police Department Homicide Bureau brought Mosley from the cell block to the fifth-floor office of the Homicide Bureau for questioning about the fatal shooting of a man named Leroy Williams.

Williams had been killed in January of 1971, during a holdup attempt outside the 101 Ranch Bar in Detroit.

Mosley had not been arrested on this charge nor interrogated about it by Detective Cowie.

Before questioning Mosley about this homicide, Detective Hill carefully advised him of his so-called Miranda rights.

Mosley read the notification form both silently and aloud, and Detective Hill then read and explained the warnings to him and had him sign the form.

Mosley at first denied any involvement in the Williams murder, but after the officer told him that and accomplice had confessed to participating in the killing, and had named him Moseley as the trigger man, Mosley made a statement implicating himself in the homicide.

The interrogation by Detective Hill lasted approximately 15 minutes, and at no time during its course did Mosley ask to consult with a lawyer or indicate that he did not want to discuss the homicide.

In short, there is no claim that the procedures followed during Detective Hill’s interrogation of Mosley, standing alone, did not fully comply with the strictures of the Miranda opinion.

Moseley was subsequently charged with first degree murder.

Before the trial, he moved to suppress his incriminating statement on a number of grounds, among them a claim that under the doctrine of the Miranda case, it was constitutionally impermissible for Detective Hill to question him about the Williams murder after he had told Detective Cowie that he did not want to answer any questions about the robberies.

The trial court denied the motion to suppress after an evidentiary hearing, and the incriminating statement was subsequently introduced in evidence against Mosley at his trial.

The jury convicted Mosley of first-degree murder, and the court imposed a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.

On appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, Mosley renewed his previous objections to the use of his incriminating statement in evidence.

The appellate court reversed the judgment of conviction, holding that Detective Hill’s interrogation of Mosley had been a per se violation of the Miranda doctrine.

Accordingly, without reaching Mosley’s other contentions, the Court remanded the case for a new trial with instructions that Mosley’s statement be suppressed as evidence.

After a further appeal was denied by the Michigan Supreme Court, the State filed a petition for certiorari here and we granted the petition because of the important constitutional questions presented.

For the reasons elaborated in some details in the Court’s written opinion, we conclude that the admission in evidence of Mosley’s incriminating statement did not violate the principles of Miranda versus Arizona.

Accordingly, the judgment of the Michigan Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded to that court for further proceedings not inconsistent with the written opinion filed with the clerk today.

Mr. Justice White has filed a separated opinion concurring in the judgment.

Mr. Justice Brennan has filed a dissenting opinion which Mr. Justice Marshall has joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Stewart.