Maryland v. Shatzer

Citation175 L. Ed. 2d 1045,130 S.Ct. 1213
Decision Date05 October 2009
Docket NumberNo. 08-680.,08-680.
PartiesMARYLAND, Petitioner, v. Michael Blaine SHATZER, Sr.,
CourtUnited States Supreme Court





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.

Justice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

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).


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 incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, serving a sentence for an unrelated child-sexualabuse 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 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, 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 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. 21-K-06-37799 (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 accordance with the agreement, the State described the interview with the victim and Shatzer's 2006 statements to the detectives. Based on the proffered testimony of the victim and the "admission of the defendant as to the act of masturbation," the trial court found Shatzer guilty of sexual child abuse of his son.1 No. 21-K-06-37799 (Cir. Ct. Washington Cty., Md., Sept. 21, 2006), id., at 70, 79.

Over the dissent of two judges, the Court of Appeals of Maryland reversed and remanded. The court held that "the passage of time alone is insufficient to [end] the protections afforded by Edwards," and that, assuming, arguendo, a break-in-custody exception to Edwards existed, Shatzer's release back into the general prison population between interrogations did not constitute a break in custody. 405 Md., at 606-607, 954 A.2d, at 1131. We granted certiorari, 555 U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 1043, 173 L.Ed.2d 468 (2009).


The Fifth Amendment, which applies to the States by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, 6, 84 S.Ct. 1489, 12 L.Ed.2d 653 (1964), provides that "[n]o person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." U.S. Const., Amdt. 5. In Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), the Court adopted a set of prophylactic measures to protect a suspect's Fifth Amendment right from the "inherently compelling pressures" of custodial interrogation. Id., at 467, 86 S.Ct. 1602. The Court observed that "incommunicado interrogation" in an "unfamiliar," "police-dominated atmosphere," id., at 456-457, 86 S.Ct. 1602, involves psychological pressures "which work to undermine the individual's will to resist and to compel him to speak where he would not otherwise do so freely," id., at 467, 86 S.Ct. 1602. Consequently, it reasoned, "[u]nless adequate protective devices are employed to dispel the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings, no statement obtained from the defendant can truly be the product of his free choice." Id., at 458, 86 S.Ct. 1602.

To counteract the coercive pressure, Miranda announced that police officers must warn a suspect prior to questioning that he has a right to remain silent, and a right to the presence of an attorney. Id., at 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602. After the warnings are given, if the suspect indicates that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease. Id., at 473-474, 86 S.Ct. 1602. Similarly, if the suspect states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. Id., at 474, 86 S.Ct. 1602. Critically, however, a suspect can waive these rights. Id., at 475, 86 S.Ct. 1602. To establish a valid waiver, the State must show that the waiver was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary under the "high standar[d] of proof for the waiver of constitutional rights [set forth in] Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 58 S.Ct. 1019, 82 L.Ed. 1461 (1938)." Id., at 475, 86 S.Ct. 1602.

In Edwards, the Court determined that Zerbst's traditional standard for waiver was not sufficient to protect a suspect's right to have counsel present at a subsequent interrogation if he had previously requested counsel; "additional safeguards" were necessary. 451 U.S., at 484, 101 S.Ct. 1880. The Court therefore superimposed a "second layer of prophylaxis," McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 176, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). Edwards held:

"[W]hen an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established by showing only that he responded to further police-initiated custodial interrogation even if he has been advised of his rights. ... [He] is not subject to further interrogation by the authorities until counsel has been made available to him, unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police." 451 U.S., at 484-485, 101 S.Ct. 1880.

The rationale of Edwards is that once a suspect indicates that "he is not capable of undergoing [custodial] questioning without advice of counsel," "any subsequent waiver that has come at the authorities' behest, and not at the suspect's own instigation, is itself the product of the `inherently compelling pressures' and not the purely voluntary choice of the suspect." Arizona v. Roberson, 486 U.S. 675, 681, 108 S.Ct. 2093, 100 L.Ed.2d 704 (1988). Under this rule, a voluntary Miranda waiver is sufficient at the time of an initial attempted interrogation to protect a suspect's right to have counsel present, but it is not sufficient at the time of subsequent attempts if the suspect initially requested the presence of counsel. The implicit assumption, of course, is that the subsequent requests for interrogation pose a significantly greater risk of...

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  • Florida v. Powell, No. 08–1175.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 23, 2010
  • Maryland v. Shatzer
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 24, 2010
  • Florida v. Powell
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    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • December 7, 2009
    ... ... "offers a protection against self-incrimination identical to that provided by the Fifth Amendment" (internal quotation marks omitted)); Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79, 83-84, 107 S.Ct. 1013, 94 L.Ed.2d 72 (1987) (state-court opinion relied on state cases but indicated "that the Maryland ... ...
  • People v. Marko
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    ...." People v. Breidenbach, 875 P.2d 879, 887 (Colo. 1994) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Maryland v. Shatzer, 559 U.S. 98, 112, 130 S.Ct. 1213, 175 L.Ed.2d 1045 (2010) (addressing "the danger of coercion that results from the interaction of custody and official interrogation" (......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Criminal Lawyer's Handbook. Volume 2 - 2014 Contents
    • August 17, 2014
    ...§§3:40, 3:90. 16:52.3 Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S. 366, 124 S.Ct. 795, 157 L.Ed.2d 769 (2003), §1:21 Maryland v. Shatzer, 559 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 1213, 175 L.Ed.2d 1045 (2010), §§6:43.2.5, 6:53 Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U. S. 408, 117 S.Ct. 882, 137 L.Ed.2d 41 (1997), §3:50 Mason v. State, 1......
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Criminal Lawyer's Handbook. Volume 2 - 2015 Contents
    • August 17, 2015
    ...§§3:40, 3:90. 16:52.3 Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S. 366, 124 S.Ct. 795, 157 L.Ed.2d 769 (2003), §1:21 Maryland v. Shatzer, 559 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 1213, 175 L.Ed.2d 1045 (2010), §§6:43.2.5, 6:53 Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U. S. 408, 117 S.Ct. 882, 137 L.Ed.2d 41 (1997), §3:50 Mason v. State, 1......

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