Can a Police Officer Ask Questions to Clarify a Potentially Dangerous Situation Before Giving Miranda Warnings ?
In People v. Oquendo, 252 A.D.2d 312, 685 N.Y.S.2d 437 (1st Dept. 1999) the police received a radio notification at about 9:00 p.m., concerning shots being fired by a described person in a stated location.
The police saw the defendant who matched the description in that area and apprehended him.
The police approached the defendant with their guns drawn and asked him whether he had a gun.
The defendant replied no, I dropped it - its at 103rd Street and First Avenue.
The defendant was handcuffed and a show-up occurred and the police attempted to locate the gun.
The police could not find the gun and returned to the location where the defendant was being held and he offered to show it to them.
The police searched again unsuccessfully for it.
The defendant was then taken to the precinct where he arrived at about 9:40 p.m.
He was questioned about the location of the gun until about 12:05 a.m., when he was given his Miranda warnings. at 2:40 a.m., the police told the defendant if someone was injured by the gun, the defendant would be responsible.
At this point the defendant told the police exactly where he had placed the gun.
As stated in Oquendo, supra, it has long been the law in this state that an officer may ask questions to clarify a potentially dangerous situation before giving Miranda warnings. People v. Chestnut, 51 N.Y.2d 14, 431 N.Y.S.2d 485, 409 N.E.2d 958 (1980).