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neither Miranda nor the Fifth Amendment requires suppression of prearraignment confession after voluntary waiver).
Miranda was not meant to protect suspects from boasting about their criminal activities in front of persons whom they believe to be their cellmates. This case is illustrative. Respondent had no reason to feel that undercover agent Parisi had any legal authority to force him to answer questions or that Parisi could affect respondent's future treatment. Respondent viewed the cellmate-agent as an equal and showed no hint of being intimidated by the atmosphere of the jail. In recounting the details of the Stephenson murder, respondent was motivated solely by the desire to impress his fellow inmates. He spoke at his own peril.
The tactic employed here to elicit a voluntary confession from a suspect does not violate the Self-Incrimination Clause. We held in Hoffa v. United States, 385 U. S. 293 (1966), that placing an undercover agent near a suspect in order to gather incriminating information was permissible under the Fifth Amendment. In Hoffa, while petitioner Hoffa was on trial, he met often with one Partin, who, unbeknownst to Hoffa, was cooperating with law enforcement officials. Partin reported to officials that Hoffa had divulged his attempts to bribe jury members. We approved using Hoffa's statements at his subsequent trial for jury tampering, on the rationale that "no claim ha[d] been or could [have been] made that [Hoffa's] incriminating statements were the product of any sort of coercion, legal or factual.” Id., at 304. In addition, we found that the fact that Partin had fooled Hoffa into thinking that Partin was a sympathetic colleague did not affect the voluntariness of the statements. Ibid. Cf. Oregon v. Mathiason, supra, at 495-496 (officer's falsely telling suspect that suspect's fingerprints had been found at crime scene did not render interview "custodial” under Miranda); Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U. S. 731, 739 (1969); Procunier v. Atchley, 400 U. S. 446, 453–454 (1971). The only difference between this case and Hoffa is that the suspect here was incarcerated, but
detention, whether or not for the crime in question, does not warrant a presumption that the use of an undercover agent to speak with an incarcerated suspect makes any confession thus obtained involuntary.
Our decision in Mathis v. United States, 391 U. S. 1 (1968), is distinguishable. In Mathis, an inmate in a state prison was interviewed by an Internal Revenue Service agent about possible tax violations. No Miranda warning was given before questioning. The Court held that the suspect's incriminating statements were not admissible at his subsequent trial on tax fraud charges. The suspect in Mathis was aware that the agent was a Government official, investigating the possibility of noncompliance with the tax laws. The case before us now is different. Where the suspect does not know that he is speaking to a government agent there is no reason to assume the possibility that the suspect might feel coerced. (The bare fact of custody may not in every instance require a warning even when the suspect is aware that he is speaking to an official, but we do not have occasion to explore that issue here.)
This Court's Sixth Amendment decisions in Massiah v. United States, 377 U. S. 201 (1964), United States v. Henry, 447 U. S. 264 (1980), and Maine v. Moulton, 474 U. S. 159 (1985), also do not avail respondent. We held in those cases that the government may not use an undercover agent to circumvent the Sixth Amendment right to counsel once a suspect has been charged with the crime. After charges have been filed, the Sixth Amendment prevents the government from interfering with the accused's right to counsel. Moulton, supra, at 176. In the instant case no charges had been filed on the subject of the interrogation, and our Sixth Amendment precedents are not applicable.
Respondent can seek no help from his argument that a bright-line rule for the application of Miranda is desirable. Law enforcement officers will have little difficulty putting into practice our holding that undercover agents need not
BRENNAN, J., concurring in judgment
496 U. S.
give Miranda warnings to incarcerated suspects. The use of undercover agents is a recognized law enforcement technique, often employed in the prison context to detect violence against correctional officials or inmates, as well as for the purposes served here. The interests protected by Miranda are not implicated in these cases, and the warnings are not required to safeguard the constitutional rights of inmates who make voluntary statements to undercover agents.
We hold that an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a fellow inmate need not give Miranda warnings to an incarcerated suspect before asking questions that may elicit an incriminating response. The statements at issue in this case were voluntary, and there is no federal obstacle to their admissibility at trial. We now reverse and remand for proceedings not inconsistent with our opinion.
It is so ordered. JUSTICE BRENNAN, concurring in the judgment.
The Court holds that Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966), does not require suppression of a statement made by an incarcerated suspect to an undercover agent. Although I do not subscribe to the majority's characterization of Miranda in its entirety, I do agree that when a suspect does not know that his questioner is a police agent, such questioning does not amount to “interrogation” in an “inherently coercive” environment so as to require application of Miranda. Since the only issue raised at this stage of the litigation is the applicability of Miranda,* I concur in the judgment of the Court.
*As the case comes to us, it involves only the question whether Miranda applies to the questioning of an incarcerated suspect by an undercover agent. Nothing in the Court's opinion suggests that, had respondent previously invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel or right to silence, his statements would be admissible. If respondent had invoked either right, the inquiry would focus on whether he subsequently waived the particular right. See Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U. S. 477 (1981); Michigan v. Mosley 423 U. S. 96, 104 (1975). As the Court made clear in
BRENNAN, J., concurring in judgment
This is not to say that I believe the Constitution condones the method by which the police extracted the confession in this case.
To the contrary, the deception and manipulation practiced on respondent raise a substantial claim that the confession was obtained in violation of the Due Process Clause. As we recently stated in Miller v. Fenton, 474 U. S. 104, 109-110 (1985):
“This Court has long held that certain interrogation techniques, either in isolation or as applied to the unique characteristics of a particular suspect, are so offensive to a civilized system of justice that they must be condemned under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. . . . Although these decisions framed the legal inquiry in a variety of different ways, usually through the 'convenient shorthand of asking whether the confession was 'involuntary,' Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U. S. 199, 207 (1960), the Court's analysis has consistently been animated by the view that ‘ours is an accusatorial and not an inquisitorial system,' Rogers v. Richmond, 365 U. S. 534, 541 (1961), and that, accordingly, tactics for eliciting inculpatory statements must fall within the broad constitutional boundaries imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of fundamental fairness.”
Moran v. Burbine, 475 U. S. 412, 421 (1986), the waiver of Miranda rights "must [be] voluntary in the sense that it (must be] the product of a free and deliberate choice rather than intimidation, coercion or deception.” (Emphasis added.) Since respondent was in custody on an unrelated charge when he was questioned, he may be able to challenge the admission of these statements if he previously had invoked his Miranda rights with respect to that charge. See Arizona v. Roberson, 486 U. S. 675 (1988); Mosley, supra, at 104. Similarly, if respondent had been formally charged on the unrelated charge and had invoked his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, he may have a Sixth Amendment challenge to the admissibility of these statements. See Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U. S. 625, 629-636 (1986). Cf. Roberson, supra, at 683–685.
BRENNAN, J., concurring in judgment
496 U. S.
That the right is derived from the Due Process Clause “is significant because it reflects the Court's consistently held view that the admissibility of a confession turns as much on whether the techniques for extracting the statements, as applied to this suspect, are compatible with a system that presumes innocence and assures that a conviction will not be secured by inquisitorial means as on whether the defendant's will was in fact overborne.” Id., at 116. See Spano v. New York, 360 U. S. 315, 320-321 (1959) (“The abhorrence of society to the use of involuntary confessions does not turn alone on their inherent untrustworthiness. It also turns on the deep-rooted feeling that the police must obey the law while enforcing the law; that in the end life and liberty can be as much endangered from illegal methods used to convict those thought to be criminals as from the actual criminals themselves”); see also Degraffenreid v. McKellar, 494 U. S. 1071, 1072-1074 (1990) (MARSHALL, J., joined by BRENNAN, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).
The method used to elicit the confession in this case deserves close scrutiny. The police devised a ruse to lure respondent into incriminating himself when he was in jail on an unrelated charge. A police agent, posing as a fellow inmate and proposing a sham escape plot, tricked respondent into confessing that he had once committed a murder, as a way of proving that he would be willing to do so again should the need arise during the escape. The testimony of the undercover officer and a police informant at the suppression hearing reveal the deliberate manner in which the two elicited incriminating statements from respondent. See App. 43–53 and 66–73. We have recognized that “the mere fact of custody imposes pressures on the accused; confinement may bring into play subtle influences that will make him particularly susceptible to the ploys of undercover Government agents.” United States v. Henry, 447 U. S. 264, 274 (1980). As JUSTICE MARSHALL points out, the pressures of custody make a suspect more likely to confide in others and to engage