The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Matt Kaplan’s client in a July 8, 2021 published opinion. The Court’s reasoning will limit the ability of police officers to question suspects without informing them that they have the rights to remain silent and to speak to an attorney before speaking to the police.
Mr. Kaplan, on behalf of his client, argued that the police improperly interrogated his client without giving him the warnings required by the Supreme Court’s landmark Miranda v. Arizona decision. The U.S. government–which prosecuted this case–argued that the half-hour interaction between the police and the appellant should be broken into many individual segments and that some of those segments constituted interrogation but that some did not and that, consequently, the admissibility of statements made during those segments was not affected by the failure to provide the Miranda warnings. Mr. Kaplan argued that this made no sense–there was a single conversation between the police and the person they had detained and the interaction needed to be analyzed as a whole.
The case is Millhausen v. United States, __ A.3d. __, No. 19-CF-47, 2021 D.C. App. LEXIS 168 (July 8, 2021). The decision is binding precedent in the District of Columbia courts and is likely to be cited as persuasive authority by courts in other jurisdictions faced with similar facts.
Matthew B. Kaplan is the Principal of The Kaplan Law Firm.