When Is An Interrogation Custodial In Texas ?
A custodial interrogation is "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966); Ruth v. State, 645 S.W.2d 432, 435 (Tex Crim. App. 1979).
Determining whether an individual was in custody at the time of interrogation involves an examination of numerous factors, including whether the person was the focus of the investigation; the subjective intent of the law enforcement officials; and the subjective belief of the person regarding whether she was in custody. See Zavala v. State, 956 S.W.2d 715, 723 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 1997, no pet.); White v. State, 931 S.W.2d 736, 741 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 1996, pet ref'd).
Ultimately, a person is under custodial interrogation if a reasonable person in similar circumstances would believe her freedom of movement was restricted to the level associated with a formal arrest. See Dowthitt v. State, 931 S.W.2d 244, 254 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996).
A formal arrest, though, is not required. See Zavala, 956 S.W.2d at 723.
Grand jury questioning usually takes place in a setting wholly different from a custodial interrogation. See United States v. Flores, 985 F.2d 770, 777 n. 14 (5th Cir. 1993) (citing United States v. Mandujano, 425 U.S. 564, 585, 48 L. Ed. 2d 212, 96 S. Ct. 1768 (1976)).
Although the United States Supreme Court has never determined whether the questioning of a grand jury witness constitutes a custodial interrogation, see United States v. Myers, 123 F.3d 350, 360 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing United States v. Washington, 431 U.S. 181, 186, 52 L. Ed. 2d 238, 97 S. Ct. 1814 (1977)), it has refused to extend the requirements of Miranda to grand jury questioning. See Mandujano, 425 U.S. 564, 585, 48 L. Ed. 2d 212, 96 S. Ct. 1768 (1976). In Mandujano, the Court explained:
Miranda addressed extrajudicial confessions or admissions procured in a hostile, unfamiliar environment which lacked procedural safeguards.
The decision expressly rested on the privilege against self-incrimination; the prescribed warnings sought to negate the "compulsion" thought to be inherent in a police station interrogation.
But the Miranda Court simply did not perceive judicial inquiries and custodial interrogations as equivalents: "The compulsion to speak in the isolated setting of the police station may well be greater than in courts or other official investigations, where there are often impartial observers to guard against intimidation or trickery."
The Court thus recognized that many official investigations such as grand jury questioning, take place in a setting wholly different from custodial police interrogation.
Indeed, the Court's opinion reveals a focus on what was seen by the Court as police "coercion" derived from "factual studies [relating to] police violence and the 'third degree' . . . physical brutality--beating, hanging, whipping--and to sustained and protracted questioning incommunicado in order to extort confessions. . . ."
To extend these concepts to questioning before a grand jury inquiry into criminal activity under the guidance of a judge is an extravagant expansion never remotely contemplated by this Court in Miranda. Manduajano, 425 U.S. at 580.
Thus, the Court emphasized the distinction between custodial interrogations, on the one hand, and judicial inquiries, which generally take place in less coercive settings. See id.