In Rhode Island v. Innis, the United States Supreme Court faced the difficult problem of distinguishing between voluntary confessions, which are admissible in court, and coerced confessions, which are inadmissible due to improper custodial interrogation. The decision in Innis provided a long-awaited guideline for determining when police conduct falls within the Miranda prohibition. The Court's test included an objective inquiry into the likely effect of police conduct on a typical person in the suspect's position and a subjective inquiry as to whether the police should have known of any special characteristics of the suspect which would make him susceptible to their conduct. The purpose of this Note is to probe the rationale used in Rhode Island v. Innis for determining when police conduct in obtaining a confession is classified as an "interrogation" within the prohibitions of Miranda. First, the history of the "interrogation" issue is examined, with emphasis upon the current trend in Supreme Court rulings on the admissibility of confessions. Second, the Innis decision itself is reviewed. Finally, the protections afforded by the fifth and sixth amendments and the problem of determining when these protections attach will be considered.
Emmett J. McMahon,
The Miranda Prohibition: A Narrowing Standard to Control Police Conduct: Rhode Island v. Innis, 100 S. Ct. 1682 (1980),
60 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol60/iss2/8