Miranda Warnings and Custody When the Cop Takes Your Keys.

| Feb 1, 2011 | Criminal Defense |

An appeals case out of Eastland entitled Steadman v. State involved Fifth Amendment concerns.  Allowing the officer to testify that the defendant neither admitted nor denied allegations against him was not a Fifth Amendment rights violation.  Also, it was not improper for the prosecutor to argue to the jury that the defendant did not deny the allegations against him.  “The law is somewhat unsettled in this area, but we do have some guidance.”  Although the case involved post Miranda Warnings silence, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stated that ‘pre-arrest silence is a constitutionally permissible area of inquiry’.  In another case, while the court found it unnecessary to address the question of the admissibility of pre-arrest silence, it did note that there were those federal courts of appeals that had held that pre-arrest silence is admissible.  It also noted that there were other federal courts of appeals in which the opposite result was reached.

The officer took the defendant’s keys after he had admitted that he had a couple of beers that night, and it was held that he was not in custody.