STUDENT REPLY #1 Stacey Whitlow


Explain when an interview becomes an interrogation and how the interviewer/interrogator would proceed differently based on this transition.

“Interviewing is the first stage interaction. The person is not even definable as a suspect at this point. Suspects often report criminal events while posing as witnesses or even victims of the crime. The investigator that is conducting the interview from such a person may become suspicious that they are not being truthful; until those suspicions are confirmed by evidence that meets the test of forming reasonable grounds for belief, the investigator may continue to talk to this possible suspect without providing cautions. There is opportunity at that point to gather the poser’s version of events, including any untrue statements that may afford an opportunity to later investigate and demonstrate a possible fabrication, which is by itself a criminal offense. The transition point for an investigator to move from interviewing a witness or victim to detaining and questioning the person as a possible suspect should occur when real evidence is discovered giving the investigator reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is involved in the event. Discovering real evidence and gaining “reasonable grounds to suspect” creates an obligation for the investigator to stop interviewing the person who then becomes a suspect. At this point, the person is a suspect a should be detained for the suspected offense and provided the appropriate statement caution before proceeding with the questioning of the suspect.” (R. Gehl 2017)

In reference to the scenario described above, can a suspect “un-invoke” Miranda? Can a conversation that is not an interrogation (excited utterance) lead to a confession?

An individual can change their mind at any time and invoke their Miranda rights, even if they have already spoken to the police. The key to the issue in the scenario is the suspect must verbally state or place in writing that they are withdrawing their right to have counsel present. If this is not stated and the suspect states “I never really looked like that chick anyway” the police will use that as an admission of some accountability in the current offense in which the suspect has been arrested. An attorney can file a motion to suppress said confession.

“Federal and state courts have reached different conclusions on the admissibility of excited utterances under Crawford based on their consideration of various factors and the importance placed upon each one. Several courts have concluded that excited utterances, even when made to a police officer in response to some degree of questioning, are not testimonial. Other courts have taken the opposite viewpoint, reasoning that an excited utterance may be testimonial if the questioning by law enforcement officers is for investigatory and fact-gathering purposes in anticipation of a future prosecution.” (Brandl 2018)


Brandl, S. (2018). Criminal investigation (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Chapter 7, “Interrogations and Confessions Download Interrogations and Confessions” (pp. 178–211)

Introduction to Criminal Investigation: Processes, Practices and Thinking, Chapter 9: Interviewing, Questioning, and Interrogation; by Rod Gehl 2017

STUDENT REPLY #2 Earl Wilson

An interview becomes an interrogation once it is believed that a subject was involved in the crime that had occurred or when the interview is directed at the subject to invoke a confession to the crime. This is also the same when an individual confesses to the crime and investigators continue to question the subject regarding the incident, whereabout of evidence and motives.

Interviews are held in a more comfortable location which allows the subjects to “open up” more about the event. This helps them to provide information or testimony that would be vital in solving a crime. Interrogations are typically conducted at the station and put the individual in an uncomfortable position, such as a smaller office with a camera, a viewing window and the individual can be left sitting alone for extended periods of time to allow the individual time to “stew” on their thoughts, asking themselves, “What do the police know?,” “Is it better for me to be honest now than to wait and be caught.”

The more uncomfortable the subject is the more likely they will be willing to divulge information to be removed from that location. It is a psychological attack on the individual's mental state, creating a state of fear that investigators can use to their advantage.

Anything that the individual says after being read their Miranda rights can be used against them in a court of law or during an investigation. Inside the Miranda rights they are notified of this and state they understand it. “You have the right to remain silent.” “Anything said can and will be used against you in a court of law.” (Cicchini, M.D. (2012). If they continue to talk about the investigation after the fact, then that was their choice to continue discussing it. This would mean that an individual “un-invoked” their Miranda rights by continuing to talk. Now, in the scenario above, she requested her lawyer, but even after they arrived, she could continue discussing facts about the case against the lawyer's advice. It would be the subject's decision to remain silent and use their Miranda rights.


Cicchini, M. D. (2012). The new Miranda warning Links to an external site. Links to an external site… SMU Law Review, 65(4), 911–941.

Taylor, B. (2015). You have the right to be confused! Understanding Miranda after 50 years Links to an external site. Links to an external site… Pace Law Review, 36(1), 158–214.