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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
Rhode Island v. Innis
Citation:446 U.S. 291, 100 S.Ct. 1682, 64 L.Ed.2d 297.
On the night of January 12, 1975, a taxi driver disappeared after being dispatched to pick up a customer. His body was discovered four days later. He had died from a shotgun blast. On January 17, 1975, shortly after midnight, the police received a telephone call from another taxicab driver who reported that he had just been robbed. From a photo array, he implicated the defendant. The same night, an officer spotted the defendant standing in the street and arrested him. The officer advised him of his Miranda rights.
Within minutes, another officer arrived at the scene of the arrest, and he also gave the defendant the Miranda warnings. Other police officers arrived and also advised the defendant of his Miranda rights. The defendant stated that he understood those rights and wanted to speak with a lawyer. Three officers proceeded to drive the defendant to the police station. While on the way to the station, the officers started talking to each other about a missing shotgun. They talked about how there was a school for handicapped children nearby. One officer said “God forbid one of them might find a weapon with shells and they might hurt themselves.” Another officer said that it was a safety factor and that they should continue to search for the weapon and try to find it as a little girl may shoot herself.
The defendant then interrupted the conversation, stating that the officers should turn the car around so he could show them where the gun was located. The police vehicle returned to the scene of the arrest where a search for the shotgun was in progress. An officer again advised the defendant of his Miranda rights. The defendant replied that he understood those rights but that he “wanted to get the gun out of the way because of the kids in the area in the school.” The defendant then led the police to a nearby field, where he pointed out the shotgun under some rocks by the side of the road. The shotgun was connected to the first taxicab driver’s death.
Before trial, the defendant moved to suppress the shotgun and the statements he had made to the police regarding it. The trial court denied it, and he was found guilty. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island reversed and set aside the conviction. The state appealed.
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