Legal English 8

7. If I Don’t Have to Answer Questions, Does This Mean I Can Sue a Police Officer for Trying to Question Me?

No. Even in the complete absence of probable cause to arrest or suspicion to conduct a "stop and frisk," police officers have the same right as anyone else to approach people and try to talk to them. Of course, if the person refuses to talk, the officer must stop.

Case Example: Officer Stan Doff knocks on the front door of Dee Fensive’s home. When Dee answers the door, the officer says, "I’d like to ask you a few questions about a robbery that took place across the street a few minutes ago. Have you noticed any suspicious people hanging around the neighborhood lately?" Dee indicates that She has seen nothing, does not want to talk further and closes the door. Officer Doff then leaves.

Question: Has the officer violated Dee’s rights?

Answer: No. The officer has a right to try to question Dee. When Dee indicated that she did not want to talk, the officer ended the interview. The officer’s actions are legally proper.

8. Doesn’t a Police Officer Always Have to Read Me My "Miranda Rights" Before Questioning Me?

No. A "Miranda warning]" essentially advises people of their constitutional right to not answer questions and to have an attorney present if they do decide to talk to police officers. (See Question 13.) But the Miranda warning is required only if the person being questioned is in custody and the police want to later use the answers in court. This means that statements by a person not in custody may later be used against the person in court even though no Miranda warning was given. (See Question 19.)

Case Example: Officer Dave Bouncer is investigating a barroom brawl. The bartender indicates that a patron named Bob Sawyer might be able to identify the instigator of the brawl. When Officer Bouncer interviews Bob, Bob makes statements implicating himself in the brawl. Officer Bouncer did not read Bob his "Miranda rights."

Question: If Bob is charged with a crime concerning the brawl, will Bob’s statements to Officer Bouncer be admissible as evidence?

1.sue 控告

2.robbery 抢劫

3.Miranda Rights 米兰达权利

4.Miranda Warning 米兰达警告

5.barroom brawl 酒吧房间斗殴

6.instigator 挑动者,煽动者

Answer: Yes. At the time Officer Bouncer spoke to Bob, Bob was not in custody. Thus, "Miranda warnings" were not required as a condition of admissibility.

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