Will a Suspect Be Taken As 'Under Custody' If He Hasn't Been Informed of Arrest Warrant Prior to His Interview Submission ?
In Davis v. State, 698 So. 2d 1182 (Fla. 1997), the defendant voluntarily agreed to go to the police station for questioning on three occasions regarding the death of a former girlfriend's daughter. See id. at 1186.
At the time of the third interview the police had a warrant for Davis's arrest, but he was not informed of this status prior to questioning. See id.
In holding that the statements made by Davis during this third interview were admissible, the Court noted:
The sole fact that police had a warrant for Davis's arrest at the time he went to the station does not conclusively establish that he was in custody.
Rather, there must exist a "restraint on freedom of movement of the degree associated with a formal arrest." Roman v. State, 475 So. 2d 1228, 1231 (Fla. 1985).
The proper inquiry is not the unarticulated plan of the police, but rather how a reasonable person in the suspect's position would have perceived the situation. Id. Davis, 698 So. 2d at 1188.
The Third District utilized an approach similar to Davis in State v. Manning, 506 So. 2d 1094 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987).
There, the defendant had voluntarily submitted to two police interviews after being informed that he was a suspect. See id. at 1095.
Subsequently, the police obtained a warrant for his arrest and requested that Manning grant them a third interview without informing him of the existence of the warrant. See id.
In concluding that the statements made by Manning at this third interview were admissible, the district court noted:
The fact that Manning was not immediately informed that he was under arrest is insufficient to find that his waiver was not voluntary. . . . There is no question that Manning was read his rights many times. . . . Just as an undercover investigation may continue, notwithstanding the fact that a search warrant has been issued, United States v. Alvarez, 812 F.2d 668 (11th Cir. 1987), if all other criteria have been satisfied, an interrogation may take place notwithstanding the fact that an arrest warrant has been issued. Id. at 1096-97.