Mathis v. United States, No. 726

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation88 S.Ct. 1503,20 L.Ed.2d 381,391 U.S. 1
Docket NumberNo. 726
Decision Date06 May 1968
PartiesRobert T. MATHIS, Sr., Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES

391 U.S. 1
88 S.Ct. 1503
20 L.Ed.2d 381
Robert T. MATHIS, Sr., Petitioner,

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 726.
Argued April 2 and 3, 1968.
Decided May 6, 1968.

Nicholas J. Capuano, Miami, Fla., for petitioner.

Page 2

Daniel M. Friedman, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

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 in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2871 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 $885.60 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 warn petitioner that any evi-

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dence 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. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (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 Miranda case calls for reversal. We hold that it does.

There can be no doubt that the documents and oral statements given by petitioner to the government agent and used against him were strongly incriminating.2 In the Miranda case this Court's opinion stated at some length the constitutional reasons why one in custody who is interrogated by officers about matters that might tend to incriminate him is entitled to be warned 'that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him

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prior to any questioning, if he so desires.' 384 U.S., at 479, 86 S.Ct., at 1630. The Government here seeks to escape application of the Miranda warnings on two arguments: (1) that these questions were asked as a part of a routine tax investigation where no criminal proceedings might even be brought, and (2) that the petitioner had not been put in jail by the officers questioning him, but was there for an entirely separate offense. These differences are too minor and shadowy to justify a departure from the well-considered conclusions of Miranda with reference to warnings to be given to a person held in custody.

It is true that a 'routine tax investigation' may be initiated for the purpose of a civil action rather than criminal prosecution. To this extent tax investigations differ from investigations of murder, robbery, and other crimes. But tax investigations frequently lead to criminal prosecutions, just as the one here did. In fact, the last visit of the revenue agent to the jail to question petitioner took place only eight days before the full-fledged criminal investigation concededly began. And as the investigating revenue agent was compelled to admit, there was always the possibility during his investigation that his work would end up in a criminal prosecution....

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691 practice notes
  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 5, 2009
    ...a suspect was in custody while being held in own home, despite his comfort and familiarity with the surroundings); Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1, 5, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 (1968) (holding that a person serving a prison sentence for one crime was in custody when he was interroga......
  • U.S. v. Cheely, Nos. 92-30257
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • April 11, 1994
    ...was a custodial interrogation. In Cervantes v. Walker, 589 F.2d 424 (9th Cir.1978), this court characterized Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1, 4-5, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 1504-05, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 (1968), as deciding that Miranda warnings were required where a prisoner was questioned "by a governm......
  • People v. Keo, B286844
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 23, 2019
    ...177 Cal.Rptr. 852, 635 P.2d 446.)Keo relies on Estelle, supra , 451 U.S. at page 468, 101 S.Ct. 1866 and Mathis v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 ( Mathis ) to support his argument a dependency investigator acts as an agent of law enforcement when questioning......
  • Ingersoll v. Palmer, S.F. 25001
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • October 29, 1987
    ...rather strong argument can Page 56 be made that mere patrol and stoppings based upon the Terry standard [of reasonable suspicion, supra, 391 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868] do not produce what the Camara Court [, supra, 387 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1727] referred to as 'acceptable results.' For one thing,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
691 cases
  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 5, 2009
    ...a suspect was in custody while being held in own home, despite his comfort and familiarity with the surroundings); Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1, 5, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 (1968) (holding that a person serving a prison sentence for one crime was in custody when he was interroga......
  • U.S. v. Cheely, Nos. 92-30257
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • April 11, 1994
    ...was a custodial interrogation. In Cervantes v. Walker, 589 F.2d 424 (9th Cir.1978), this court characterized Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1, 4-5, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 1504-05, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 (1968), as deciding that Miranda warnings were required where a prisoner was questioned "by a go......
  • People v. Keo, B286844
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 23, 2019
    ...177 Cal.Rptr. 852, 635 P.2d 446.)Keo relies on Estelle, supra , 451 U.S. at page 468, 101 S.Ct. 1866 and Mathis v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 ( Mathis ) to support his argument a dependency investigator acts as an agent of law enforcement when questioning......
  • Ingersoll v. Palmer, S.F. 25001
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • October 29, 1987
    ...rather strong argument can Page 56 be made that mere patrol and stoppings based upon the Terry standard [of reasonable suspicion, supra, 391 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868] do not produce what the Camara Court [, supra, 387 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1727] referred to as 'acceptable results.' For one thing,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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