Criminal Law – Case Law Update – Miranda Warnings

free-vector-scales-of-justice_099380_Scales_of_justiceOn June 28, 2015, the Oregon Supreme Court published an opinion regarding the impact of a failure to give a Miranda warning on a subsequent voluntary consent search.  In State v. Delong, 357 Or 365 (2015), during a traffic stop a police officer, without giving a Miranda warning, asked Defendant “if there was anything we should be concerned about” in the car.  Defendant replied “no,” and told the officer he could search the vehicle if he wanted to.  The officer did so, finding a fanny pack containing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  The Oregon Supreme Court held that the failure to give a Miranda warning before asking the question of Defendant was a constitutional violation, but that the evidence the officer found as a result of the voluntary consent search was not derived from the answer.  The Court used a three-factor test in holding that the evidence found in the fanny pack should not be suppressed due to the Miranda violation: (1) the nature of the violation; (2) the character of Defendant’s consent; and (3) the causal connection between the officer’s violation and the subsequent invitation of Defendant to search.  The Court found that the violation was not egregious; that the Defendant volunteered the search purely of his volition; and, therefore, the connection between the Miranda violation and the search was tenuous.