OREGON v. MATHIASON
An Oregon state police officer suspected Carl Mathiason of burglary and asked him to come to the police station for questioning. Mathiason came freely, spoke with the officer, and was not arrested at the time. He was arrested later and a trial court used evidence obtained during the questioning to convict him. Mathiason moved to suppress the evidence since he was not read his Miranda rights before the questioning. The court admitted the evidence since Mathiason was not in custody during the questioning. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Oregon reversed since it found that Matianson was in a "coercive environment" when questioned and therefore deserved to hear his Miranda rights.
Can incriminating evidence obtained from a suspect during a voluntary interview be used if the police did not read Miranda rights to the suspect?
Yes. In a per curiam decision, the Court held that its decision in Miranda v. Arizona only required law enforcement officials to recite a suspect's rights when suspect had been "deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." The Court determined that in this case there was "no indication that the questioning took place in a context where respondent's freedom to depart was restricted in any way." Even if the police coercively pressured Mathiason during the interview, he came to the police station freely and was free to leave at any time. Therefore Miranda rights did not apply.