Synopsis of Rule of Law. An interrogation, for Fifth Amendment constitutional purposes, should be defined to include only words or conduct that the police should have known would reasonably influence an individual to respond.
Held. The conversation was not an interrogation, and therefore the respondent’s rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution (“Constitution”) were not violated. Interrogations should not be so broadly defined to include such a wide range of conduct by officers post-arrest, but rather should only include conduct that police should know would illicit a response.
The dissent written by Justice Thurgood Marshall (“J. Marshall”) agreed with the majority’s definition of interrogation, but they did not agree with how the majority applied the facts of this case. They believed the conduct did reach the level of an interrogation.
Justice John Paul Stevens (“J. Stevens”) dissented, reasoning that if the conduct in question was put in the form of a direct question to the respondent then it would be considered an interrogation. Therefore, police should not be able to avoid an individual’s rights by changing the form of the conduct.