United States v. Williams - Ninth Circuit

Headline: Ninth Circuit panel affirms a suppression order when a criminal defendant invoked his Miranda rights and the government subsequently attempted to use unadmonished responses to a jail official’s questions about the defendant’s gang affiliation at trial.

Areas of Law: Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Miranda Warnings.

Issue Presented: Whether the government may introduce evidence of a defendant’s gang affiliation obtained through unadmonished questioning of defendant by a jail official after defendant asserted his Miranda rights.

Brief Summary: Appellee was initially charged with murder and other offenses in state court. When police attempted to interrogate him, he immediately invoked his Miranda rights. Later, a deputy sheriff handling the booking process asked him whether he had gang affiliations. Appellant responded in the affirmative. Appellee was later charged with numerous RICO offenses, and the United States attempted to use Appellee’s booking statement in its case-in-chief. The district court issued an order suppressing the evidence. The government appealed, arguing the response fell under either the “booking exception” or the “public safety exception” to the Miranda warnings. The Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the district court ruling.

 

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