Seibert Clarification from the U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Miranda Rights

Anyone who has seen a cop show knows about the now famous 1966 Miranda case where the US Supreme Court imposed procedures designed to protect people from being coerced into giving a confession to the police while the person is being interrogated in police custody. The police, not wanting to be hindered by the requirement to provide Miranda warnings developed a two-step “question-first warn later” technique wherein the police interrogate a suspect without providing Miranda warnings, get the suspect to fully confess, then give the suspect the Miranda warnings and get the suspect to re-confess.

The effect of this technique – identified by the US Supreme Court in the 2004 case of Missouri v. Seibert was to make the Miranda warnings ineffective because most suspects would not believe that they “have the right to remain silent” after they have already fully confessed. Kenneth “Tray” Gober an attorney at Lee, Gober & Reyna and co-counsel Dan Wood from Dallas have identified this two-step interrogation technique being used in a Texas case. The defendant in the Texas case, Rodney Hunt, was found to be “Borderline Intellectual Functioning” and was subjected to this technique, which his attorneys believe was used to coerce him into giving a false confession.

Mr. Gober and Mr. Wood have been fighting this case since 2008 in multiple levels of appeals and have now gone to the US Supreme Court to seek relief and to ask the US Supreme Court to clarify its ruling in the Seibert case so that police are not allowed to continue to use this type of two-step technique in the future. The Supreme Court only takes up about one-percent of these types of case, but Mr. Gober and Mr. Wood are hopeful that justice will be served.


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