Police ''Voluntary Interview'' In California

In People v. Boyer (1989) 48 Cal. 3d 247, the court rejected a claim that an encounter between the defendant and the police "was consensual, and thus not a detention," and concluded that the defendant's interrogation occurred "during an illegal, prolonged detention amounting to arrest." Four officers went to the defendant's house one evening to seek what they called a "voluntary interview" about his possible involvement in two homicides. (Boyer, at p. 263.) Two officers knocked on the front door while the other two covered the rear of the house; the defendant was stopped when he emerged from the back door after the knock. The defendant was asked to step into the driveway and told that "two gentlemen in front would like to speak to him." (Ibid.) The officers may have held the defendant as they walked him to the front of the house. the defendant was then asked if he would "voluntarily come" to the station for an interview, and agreed to do so. ( Id. at p. 264.) The court agreed with the defendant that "many of the formal indicia of detention or arrest were present during the initial encounter with the officers . . . . the manner in which the police arrived at defendant's home, accosted him, and secured his 'consent' to accompany them suggested they did not intend to take 'no' for an answer." ( People v. Boyer, supra, 48 Cal. 3d at pp. 267-268, 256 Cal. Rptr. 96, 768 P.2d 610.) And "whatever defendant's status before arriving at the . . . station . . . the situation quickly ripened into a full-blown arrest inside the station house." ( Id. at p. 268, 256 Cal. Rptr. 96, 768 P.2d 610.) At the station, the defendant was confronted by two officers in a small interrogation room, informed of his Miranda rights, and subjected to over an hour of "directly accusatory questioning" while the officers evaded his questions about whether he was under arrest. (Ibid.)