The Exclusionary Rule: Protecting Statements in Court
Can I keep statements that I made to police out of court if I wasn’t Mirandized? Hi, I’m Oklahoma City Attorney Aaron Easton and this is part four of the four-part series of On Miranda. And earlier we talked about where your Miranda rights come from, when law enforcement must provide you with those rights, and how you invoke those rights. And today we’re going to talk about the tool that you may have at your disposal to keep any statements you made to law enforcement out of court.
So, pursuant to the Miranda v. Arizona decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decision, part of that was the formation of the exclusionary rule. And the exclusionary rule says if you were in a situation in which law enforcement should have provided you with your Miranda warnings, your Miranda rights, those constitutional rights that you have, but they did not, and during that custodial interrogation you provided statements that were incriminating, the state cannot use those statements against you in their case in chief at trial.
Now, I say case in chief because if you provide statements to law enforcement, even if you should have been Mirandized and you weren’t, they can still use those statements against you to impeach you at trial. So, if you testified at trial and you testified to something different than you provided law enforcement, they can use those statements to impeach you to show that you’re being dishonest, but they can’t use them in their case in chief, meaning in their case to prosecute you for the crime that you’re being charged with.
Understanding the Exclusionary Rule and Its Limitations
Now, it is also important to note that if statements you provide to law enforcement outside of Miranda, when you should have been Mirandized but weren’t, if you provide statements that lead to physical fruits of the crime, evidence of the crime, or perhaps stolen property, or a weapon used in a crime, something along those lines, if the physical fruits come from a statement that you provide, those physical fruits are still able to be included in your case in chief, so long as the statement you provided was voluntary but not Mirandized.
This can get really tricky here, and again, very, very important to your case. The difference between winning and losing, being convicted of a crime and being found not guilty of a crime, really can come down to those incriminating statements you may have provided to law enforcement.
Speak to an Attorney About Your Specific Situation
If you think you’re in a situation where a Miranda warning might be at play or you provided statements that you think shouldn’t be allowed against you in a court, you’re going to want to speak to an attorney privately and confidentially about the specific facts of your case, and to speak to somebody at my firm, you can reach us at postconviction.lawyer or by phone at (918) 932-2833.