391 U.S. 1 (1968), 726, Mathis v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 726
Citation:391 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381
Party Name:Mathis v. United States
Case Date:May 06, 1968
Court:United States Supreme Court

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391 U.S. 1 (1968)

88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381



United States

No. 726

United States Supreme Court

May 6, 1968

Argued April 2-3, 1968




Petitioner, who was in a state prison, was questioned by an Internal Revenue Service investigator about certain tax returns in a "routine tax investigation," without any warnings that any evidence he gave could be used against him, that he had a right to remain silent, and a right to counsel, or that one would be appointed for him if he was unable to afford counsel. Documents and oral statements obtained from petitioner were introduced in his criminal trial for filing false claims for tax refunds. He was convicted, and his conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Held: Pursuant to Miranda v. United States, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), petitioner was entitled to warnings of his right to be silent and right to counsel. Tax investigations, which frequently lead to criminal prosecution, are not immune from the Miranda warning requirement to be given to a person in custody, whether or not such custody is in connection with the case under investigation. Pp. 3-5.

376 F.2d 595, reversed and remanded.

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BLACK, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner was convicted by a jury in a United States District Court on two counts charging that he knowingly filed false claims against the Government [88 S.Ct. 1504] in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287,1 and sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment on each count, the sentences to run concurrently. The frauds charged were claims for tax refunds growing out of petitioner's individual income taxes for 1960 and 1961. Both income tax returns for these two years asserted receipts of income from two different companies which the government agents were unable to locate and which evidence offered tended to show were nonexistent. The amount of income claimed in each tax return was calculated in such a way as to show that these two nonexistent employers had withheld taxes sufficient to justify substantial refunds to petitioner. The Government paid the 1960 tax refund to petitioner of $85.60 as claimed, but the record fails to show whether the 1961 claimed refund was paid. A part of the evidence on which the conviction rested consisted of documents and oral statements obtained from petitioner by a government agent while petitioner was in prison serving a state sentence. Before eliciting this information, the government agent did not not warn petitioner that any evidence

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he gave the Government could be used against him, and that he had a right to remain silent if he desired as well as a right to the presence of counsel, and that, if he was unable to afford counsel, one would be appointed for him. At trial, petitioner sought several times without success to have the judge hold hearings out of the presence of the jury to prove that his statements to the revenue agent were given without these warnings, and should therefore not be used as evidence against him. For this contention, he relied exclusively on our case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). The District Court rejected this contention, as did the Court of Appeals in affirming. 376 F.2d 595. We granted certiorari to decide whether the Mira...

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