May 5, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Ninth Circuit Court Ruling Holds a Person is not in Custody Even After Being Questioned by Officers for Over Two Hours

Few things are more intimidating than law enforcement interrogating you about your possible involvement in a crime. Often, it is this intimidation that causes people to confess to criminal charges. The Courts have held that before interrogating a person, police officers generally must explain to that person that they have certain rights, what’s commonly known as Miranda rights. So-called Miranda warnings must be given whenever a person is deemed to be “in custody”. Recently the United States Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a defendant who was questioned by officers for over two hours was not deemed to be in custody, and therefore his statements to law enforcement could be used against him at his trial.

In 2005 internet provider Yahoo, Inc. reported to police that one of its customers had uploaded images of child pornography. Law enforcement tracked down the user for alleged Internet crimes and questioned him at his workplace. The suspect was questioned by officers for over two hours in an isolated room. During the interrogation, the suspect made a series of incriminating statements. The Trial Court determined that the defendant was in custody for purposes of Miranda, and since officers did not advise him of his Miranda rights, the statements he made could not be used by prosecutors. However, the Appeals Court disagreed and held that even under these circumstances the incriminating statements could be used.

This ruling by the court further permits authorities to use statements made by individuals before they have been advised of their rights. If you or a loved one is being investigated for a crime or have been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you hire an aggressive and experienced California criminal defense law firm. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people keep their freedom for over 30 years. You can reach them to set up an appointment at 1-888-280-6839, or visit their website,, for more information.

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