Arizona v. Mauro

In Arizona v. Mauro (1987) 481 U.S. 520, the defendant Mauro was taken into custody and read his Miranda rights. He refused to answer any questions until a lawyer was present. Mauro's wife, who was being questioned in another room, asked to speak with him. The officers brought Mrs. Mauro into the interrogation room and turned on a tape recorder. Mauro then made incriminating statements to his wife, which the prosecution later sought to introduce at trial. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled the statements were inadmissible. It reasoned that allowing Mauro to speak with his wife was the "functional equivalent" of interrogation because the officers knew that "if the conversation took place, incriminating statements were likely to be made." (Mauro, at pp. 524-525 95 L. Ed. 2d at pp. 464-465.) The United States Supreme Court reversed. Pointing out that the request to see Mrs. Mauro came from Mauro himself and that there was no evidence that the officers allowed the visit for the purpose of eliciting incriminating statements or as a coercive tool to extract information, the high court concluded: "Officers do not interrogate a suspect simply by hoping that he will incriminate himself. . . . . . . . . . Mauro was not subjected to compelling influences, psychological ploys, or direct questioning. Thus, his volunteered statements cannot properly be considered the result of police interrogation." (Mauro, supra, 481 U.S. at p. 529 95 L. Ed. 2d at p. 468.)