559 U.S. 98 (2010), 08-680, Maryland v. Shatzer

Docket Nº:08-680.
Citation:559 U.S. 98, 130 S.Ct. 1213, 175 L.Ed.2d 1045, 78 U.S.L.W. 4159
Opinion Judge:Scalia, Justice.
Party Name:MARYLAND, Petitioner, v. Michael Blaine SHATZER, Sr.,
Attorney:Douglas F. Gansler, Baltimore, MD, for petitioner. Toby J. Heytens, Washington, DC, for the United States as amicus curiae, by special leave of the Court, supporting the petitioner. Celia A. Davis, Baltimore, MD, for respondent. Celia A. Davis, Baltimore, MD, for respondent. Nancy S. Forster, Pub...
Judge Panel:Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Sotomayor, JJ., joined, and in which THOMAS, J., joined as to Part III. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Ste
Case Date:February 24, 2010
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 98

559 U.S. 98 (2010)

130 S.Ct. 1213, 175 L.Ed.2d 1045, 78 U.S.L.W. 4159

MARYLAND, Petitioner,

v.

Michael Blaine SHATZER, Sr.,

No. 08-680.

United States Supreme Court

February 24, 2010

Argued October 5, 2009

CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND

[175 L.Ed.2d 1049] [130 S.Ct. 1215] Syllabus [*]

In 2003, a police detective tried to question respondent Shatzer, who was incarcerated at a Maryland prison pursuant to a prior conviction, about allegations that he had sexually abused his son. Shatzer [130 S.Ct. 1216] invoked his Miranda right to have counsel present during interroga­tion, so the detective terminated the interview. Shatzer was released back into the general prison population, and the investigation was closed. Another detective reopened the investigation in 2006 and at­tempted to interrogate Shatzer, who was still incarcerated. Shatzer waived his Miranda rights and made inculpatory statements. The trial court refused to suppress those statements, reasoning that Ed­wards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378, did not apply because Shatzer had experienced a break in Miranda custody prior to the 2006 interrogation. Shatzer was convicted of sexual child abuse. The Court of .Appeals of Maryland reversed, holding that the mere passage of time does not end the Edwards protections, and that, assuming, arguendo, a break-in-custody exception to Edwards existed, Shatzer's release back into the general prison population did not constitute such a break.

Held:

Because Shatzer experienced a break in Miranda custody lasting more than two weeks between the first and second attempts at interrogation, Edwards does not mandate suppression of his 2006 statements. Pp. 1219 -1227, 175 L.Ed.2d, at 1052-1061.

(a) Edwards created a presumption that once a suspect invokes the Miranda right to the presence of counsel, any waiver of that right in response to a subsequent police attempt at custodial interrogation is involuntary. Edwards' fundamental purpose is to "[p]reserv[e] the integrity of an accused's choice to communicate with police only through counsel," Patterson v. Illinois, 487 U.S. 285, 291, 108 S.Ct. 2389, 101 L.Ed.2d 261, by "preventpng] police from badgering [him] into waiving his previously asserted Miranda rights," Michigan v. Harvey, 494 U.S. 344, 350, 110 S.Ct. 1176, 108 L.Ed.2d 293. It is easy to believe that a suspect's [175 L.Ed.2d 1050] later waiver was coerced or badgered when he has been held in uninterrupted Miranda custody since his first refusal to waive. He remains cut off from his normal life and isolated in a "police-dominated atmosphere," Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 456, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, where his captors "appear to control [his] fate," Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292, 297, 110 S.Ct. 2394, 110 L.Ed.2d 243. But where a suspect has been released from custody and returned

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to his normal life for some time before the later attempted interrogation, there is little reason to think that his change of heart has been coerced. Because the Edwards presumption has been established by opinion of this Court, it is appropriate for this Court to specify the period of release from custody that will terminate its application. See County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 111 S.Ct. 1661, 114 L.Ed.2d 49. The Court concludes that the appropriate period is 14 days, which provides ample time for the suspect to get reacclimated to his normal life, consult with friends and counsel, and shake off any residual coercive effects of prior custody. Pp. 1219-1224, 175 L.Ed.2d, at 1052-1057.

(b) Shatzer's release back into the general prison population consti­tutes a break in Miranda custody. Lawful imprisonment imposed upon conviction does not create the coercive pressures produced by investigative custody that justify Edwards. When previously incar­cerated suspects are released back into the general prison population, they return to their accustomed surroundings and daily routine— they regain the degree of control they had over their lives before the attempted interrogation. Their continued detention is relatively dis­connected from their prior unwillingness to cooperate in an investiga­tion. The "inherently compelling pressures" of custodial interrogation [130 S.Ct. 1217] ended when Shatzer returned to his normal life. Pp. 1224-1225, 175 L.Ed.2d, at 1057-1059.

405 Md. 585, 954 A.2d 1118, reversed and remanded.

Douglas F. Gansler, Baltimore, MD, for petitioner.

Toby J. Heytens, Washington, DC, for the United States as amicus curiae, by special leave of the Court, supporting the petitioner.

Celia A. Davis, Baltimore, MD, for respondent.

Celia A. Davis, Baltimore, MD, for respondent.

Nancy S. Forster, Public Defender of Maryland, Celia Anderson Davis, Counsel of Record, Brian L. Zavin, Assistant Public Defenders, Office of the Public Defender, Appellate Division, Baltimore, MD, for Respondent.

Douglas F. Gansler, Attorney General of Maryland, Brian S. Kleinbord, Counsel of Record, Mary Ann Rapp Ince, Diane E. Keller, Assistant Attorneys General, Office of the Attorney General, Baltimore, Maryland, for Petitioner.

Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Sotomayor, JJ., joined, and in which THOMAS, J., joined as to Part III. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, post, p.___. Ste­vens, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p.___.

OPINION

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Scalia, Justice.

We consider whether a break in custody ends the pre­sumption of involuntariness established in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981).

I

In August 2003, a social worker assigned to the Child Advocacy Center in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Hagerstown Police Department referred to the de­partment allegations that respondent Michael Shatzer, Sr., had sexually abused his 3-year-old son. At that time, Shatzer was

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incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, serving a sentence for an unre­lated child-sexual-abuse offense. Detective Shane Blankenship was assigned to the investigation and interviewed Shatzer at the correctional institution on August 7, 2003. Before asking any questions, Blankenship reviewed [175 L.Ed.2d 1051] Shatzer's Miranda rights with him, and obtained a writ­ten waiver of those rights. When Blankenship explained that he was there to question Shatzer about sexually abusing his son, Shatzer expressed confusion—he had thought Blankenship was an attorney there to discuss the prior crime for which he was incarcerated. Blankenship clarified the purpose of his visit, and Shatzer declined to speak without an attorney. Accordingly, Blankenship ended the interview, and Shatzer was released back into the general prison population. Shortly thereafter, Blankenship closed the investigation.

Two years and six months later, the same social worker referred more specific allegations to the department about the same incident involving Shatzer. Detective Paul Hoover, from the same division, was assigned to the inves­tigation. He and the social worker interviewed the victim, [130 S.Ct. 1218] then eight years old, who described the incident in more detail. With this new information in hand, on March 2, 2006, they went to the Roxbury Correctional Institute, to which Shatzer had since been transferred, and inter­viewed Shatzer in a maintenance room outfitted with a desk and three chairs. Hoover explained that he wanted to ask Shatzer about the alleged incident involving Shatzer's son. Shatzer was surprised because he thought that the investigation had been closed, but Hoover ex­plained they had opened a new file. Hoover then read Shatzer his Miranda rights and obtained a written waiver on a standard department form.

Hoover interrogated Shatzer about the incident for approximately 30 minutes. Shatzer denied ordering his son to perform fellatio on him, but admitted to masturbat­ing in

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front of his son from a distance of less than three feet. Before the interview ended, Shatzer agreed to Hoo­ver's request that he submit to a polygraph examination. At no point during the interrogation did Shatzer request to speak with an attorney or refer to his prior refusal to answer questions without one.

Five days later, on March 7, 2006, Hoover and another detective met with Shatzer at the correctional facility to administer the polygraph examination. After reading Shatzer his Miranda rights and obtaining a written waiver, the other detective administered the test and concluded that Shatzer had failed. When the detectives then questioned Shatzer, he became upset, started to cry, and incriminated himself by saying, "'I didn't force him. I didn't force him.'" 405 Md. 585, 590, 954 A.2d 1118, 1121 (2008). After making this inculpatory statement, Shatzer requested an attorney, and Hoover promptly ended the interrogation.

The State's Attorney for Washington County charged Shatzer with second-degree sexual offense, sexual child abuse, second-degree assault, and contributing to condi­tions rendering a child in need of assistance. Shatzer moved to suppress his March 2006 statements pursuant to Edwards. The trial court held a suppression hearing and later denied Shatzer's motion. The Edwards protections did not apply, it reasoned, because Shatzer had experi­enced a break in custody for Miranda purposes between the 2003 and 2006 interrogations. No. 21K0637799 (Cir. Ct. Washington Cty., Md., Sept. 14, 2006), App. 55. Shatzer pleaded not guilty, waived his right to a jury trial, and proceeded to a bench trial based on an agreed state­ment of facts. In [175 L.Ed.2d 1052]...

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