Miranda warnings are considered a hallmark of the criminal justice system that sets forth the defendant’s right to remain silent. In general, a defendant cannot be compelled to answer questions while they are in police “custody” if they invoke their Miranda rights. Generally, a defendant who in custody and under interrogation must be warned that they have a right to remain silent, that anything he or she says can be used against him or her, that he or she has the right to the presence of an attorney before and during questioning, and that if he or she cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for him or her before any questioning if he or she so desires. Miranda v Arizona (1966) 384 US 436, 479, 86 S Ct 1602.
However, what most defendants do not fully appreciate is the fact that in Miranda, the court specifically states that both elements of custody and interrogation must be present for the police to be legally required to read a defendant their Miranda advisement. Once the defendant invokes their right to remain silent, all questioning must stop and any further interrogation and resultant statements cannot be used against the defendant in a criminal proceeding. In the same vein any evidence gained from a defendant who undergoes custodial interrogation without being properly Mirandized may also be subject to the exclusionary rule.
This appears simple enough, yet factors such as voluntariness, elements of a custodial vs non custodial setting, and types of questioning that constitute interrogation rather than simple identifying questions all change the landscape of Miranda since the watershed decision.
For the purposes of this discussion, we shall analyze why persons detained by police or PERT for mental health evaluations but arrested instead should be aligned with criminal defendants for purposes of Miranda.
The first element in determining whether a defendant should be read their rights is whether they are in custody. The elements of custody have slowly been shaped through the years. In general, the test for determining whether defendant is in custody for Miranda advisement purposes is whether given the totality of the circumstances their freedom to “leave” is curtailed; often to the same degree associated with formal arrest. The intent behind the seminal Miranda case directs future interpretations of the meaning of the word custody. By its very nature, custodial police interrogation entails “inherently compelling pressures” not found in normal interactions found with other public servants like social workers, emergency medical personal, or government office workers. Miranda, 384 U.S., at 467, 86 S.Ct. 1602.
The stress from the physical and psychological isolation generated through custodial interrogation is designed to undermine a defendant’s will and generate a false sense of helplessness and fear that compels them to speak where they would not do so in the absence of said pressures. Any police interaction between an individual suspected of a crime can feel coercive but questioning that occur in police “custody” heightens the risk that statements obtained are not a product of the defendant’s free will. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 435, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000).
Proceeding on the premise that mental health defendants’ first interactions when having a mental health crisis is most often with law enforcement not trained in mental health. It may be a “specialized” agency like PERT but nonetheless law enforcement officers with the authority to detain and arrest. Medical personal like psychiatrists, social workers, or emergency ambulance workers are not the first responders to mental health crisis’s. [SUBSECTION ON POLICE INTERACTION]
Because of this, the police will enter to a possibly dangerous situation where the mentally ill person is acting a danger to themselves or others. In acting a danger to themselves or others, they may meet criteria for a misdemeanor or felony. Take for example, a defendant who is psychotic and trying to harm themselves with a knife because they are hearing command delusions. If the police enter their residence, the first sight they may be greeted with is defendant holding a knife or razor as they might accidentally swing it around or throw it down but with the appearance of throwing it at someone. Thus they can easily meet the criteria for California Penal Code § 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon or even California Penal Code § 245(c), assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, as the peace officer in the course of restraining them may have a knife or weapon brandished toward them accidentally.
The law holds that a defendants’ statements resulting from their free will to go to the police and make statements are not protected under Miranda. However, case law clarifies that voluntariness is not easily defined. Recognizing that police interactions can become coercive and subject defendant to formal custodial interrogation is key to carving out exceptions to police interactions can blur the line between voluntary and involuntary statements. Defendants temporarily detained for brief questioning by police officers who at the time lack probable cause to make an arrest are not conferred the right to Miranda warnings until the situation elevates to the point of arrest or accusation or questioning ceases being brief and casual and becomes sustained and coercive. In many scenarios, a mentally ill defendant may be acting in such a bizarre manner that the latter statements need not apply, but it is in the case where a defendant who was previously acting out and composed themselves in anticipation of PERT may fall into that grey area.
Welf. & Inst. Code, § 300
The courts will look to see if defendant made statements to the police before he was advised of his Miranda rights, and whether they were voluntary, spontaneous statements not made in response to a custodial interrogation setting. Coercive police activity is a necessary predicate to the finding that a confession is not voluntary. Absent police conduct causally related to defendant’s statements, there is no basis for concluding that a state actor has deprived defendant of due process of law. Mental illness is relevant to the inquiry over their voluntary actions and susceptibility to coercion, but mere examination of the defendant’s state of mind can never be the sole basis for a due process violation. United States v. Preston, 751 F.3d 1008, 1019. Concomitantly defendant’s mental illness by itself and unrelated to coercion, should never entirely dispose of the inquiry into voluntariness. However, for most cases counsel needs to distinguish a defendant who makes statements due to delusions versus one who does so because they are unaware of the circumstances of ______. For purposes of this, both should constitute “coercion????” police practices.
Assuming arguendo defendant has been placed in handcuffs, made to stand or sit against a wall, and questioning about the circumstances that brought the police there, they could assert that this setting does meet the requirement that there is a restriction on their personal freedom that rendered them in custody for Miranda advisement purposes as it generated the same kind of coercive environment under which Miranda was originally made applicable.
Defendant needs to make the distinction that the test of custody is not dependent upon the subjective intent of the police, but whether a reasonable person could be led to believe defendant’s freedom of movement was restricted by official authority. People v. Blouin (1978) 80 Cal.App.3d 269, 283; People v. White (1968) 69 Cal.2d 751, 760. It is here that the law remains unsettled as to whether a mentally ill defendant who is in cuffs and being questioned about activities that are both a danger to others and potentially criminal should be afforded a mandatory Miranda advisement.
In the cases where custody falls short of actual arrest depends upon a number of factors. Mental health defendants could argue by a parity of reasoning that they are aligned with _______. Factors the court would consider are (1) the site of the interrogation; (2) whether the investigation was focused on the suspect; (3) whether the indicia of arrest are present; and (4) the length and form of the questioning. See People v. Herdan (1974) 42 Cal.App.3d 300, 306-307.
Reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is insufficient to justify custodial interrogation even though the interrogation is investigative. Florida v Royer (1983) 460 US 491, 499, 103 S Ct 1319 [citation]. In many cases of mental health evaluations, the police first engage in a fact finding mission to determine if the defendant should be on a 5150 hold or be detained for criminal actions. The closer the situation approaches the nebulous point where probable cause has been reached, the more likely Miranda warnings will be required. See People v Ceccone (1968) 260 CA2d 886
TIME SPENT IN OUTPATIENT TREATMENT PROGRAM SHOULD BE COUNTED TOWARD CUSTODY CREDITS
The authority for “half-time” credits lies in Penal Code § 4019. Per Penal Code § 4019
“It is the intent of the Legislature that if all days are earned under this section, a term of four days will be deemed to have been served for every two days spent in actual custody.” Cal. Penal Code § 4019(f).
This code indicates that a defendant shall have served their sentence once half of the term completed has been actually served in custody. It is the obligation of the court to determine at the time of sentencing the actual time and conduct credits to be subtracted against the total sentence per Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 4.310. The statement of credits should include the total credits given broken down into actual time and good time conduct credits.
Per People v. Jones (1995) 11 Cal. 4th 118, California Supreme Court decided that persons committed to California rehabilitation centers “CRC’s” are not entitled to good behavior and participation credits citing to that CRC’s do not fall under the criteria of “county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or a city jail, industrial farm, or road camp” per Penal Code § 2931 and 2933. Legislature subsequently amended Penal Code § 2931 to make its provisions inapplicable to any person whose crime was committed after January 1, 1983. This amendment precludes post-1982 CRC inmates from claiming the good behavior and participation credits of Penal Code § 2931.
Inmates who are not mentally disordered sex offenders (MDSO) are eligible for credit for time served in state hospitals. People v. Cowsar (1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 578, 579. Unlike CRC's, state hospitals are secure facilities that bear few differences from prison. The purpose of punishment and treatment of criminal offenders serves to discourage for future criminal activity, to confine the offender so that he may not harm society and to correct and rehabilitate the offender. In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740, 745. The time spent involuntarily confined at state hospital serves all of the permissible purposes of punishment and cannot be distinguished from jail time for sentencing purposes.
Defendant asserts that he is similarly situated with defendants remanded to the custody of a California state hospital. He asserts that the court’s minute orders made on [date] state that his placement is a “treatment center”. He was placed under a Murphy conservatorship, served time at state hospital, and subsequently was placed in a treatment center by his conservator. His conservator, the Public Guardian holds the power to place a conservatee in a closed locked treatment facility with proper notice under Welf. & Inst. Code, § 5358(d)(3). Defendant alleges that placement in a closed locked treatment facility is no different from a jail director ordering a defendant be placed in the custody of state hospital. See People v. Jones (1995) 11 Cal. 4th 118 (KENNARD, J., Dissenting).
Defendant asserts that any allegation that treatment in a closed locked treatment facility or institute for the mentally disordered (IMD) is distinguishable from those placed in CRC’s is misplaced. A CRC generally refers to an unlocked facility with limited hours. Clients are able to leave the facility grounds and can return within the day thus allowing them some degree of freedom [ask a supervisor about this fact] not found in state hospitals or IMDs or closed locked treatment facilities.
A defendant found incompetent to stand trial, committed to a state hospital until they regained competency, and have had criminal proceedings resumed to move forward with the process of convicting them of the crimes charged, shall be entitled to presentence custody credits for the time spent in the state hospital. People v. Cowsar (1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 578, 579. The Cowsar court found that time spent in a state hospital serves all of the permissible purposes of punishment and cannot be distinguished from presentence jail time for sentencing purposes. LPS Conservatees under Welf. & Inst. Code, § 5350 et seq and Murphy conservatees are two classes of people who are subject to involuntary closed locked placement by a conservator. Defendant distinguishes his case from MDSOs who are not eligible for custody credits for time spent in state hospital. People v. Sage (1980) 26 Cal.3d 498, 502–503. In People v. Waterman (1986) 42 Cal.3d 565, 569 the court noted that the compelling state interest triggers disparate cautious treatment of MDSOs who, unlike other patients, harbored dangerous mental disorders and that the legislature did not believe that the therapeutic needs of dangerous, mentally disordered persons could be served by reducing confinement time on the basis of mere good behavior and participation inside the institution. [DEFENDANT will need to overcome the fact that Murphy conservatees are not considered similarly situated with LPS Conservatees as the protection of the public is the first priority in Murphy conservatorships and Murphy conservatorships are only considered for dangerous offenders. Welf & I C §5350(b)(2)!] Defendant was in the custody of state hospital solely as a Murphy conservatee not as a MDSO. Defendant asserts that there is no distinguishable difference between placement in a state hospital and placement in a closed locked treatment center.
Defendant claims that if the trial court denies him credit for the time he spends at the treatment program will violate the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment clause guarantee of equal protection. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment denies states the power to legislate that treatment criterion differ placed on a set of criteria that are wholly unrelated to the overarching import of said statute. The first prerequisite to an equal protection clause claim is a showing that the state has adopted a classification that affects two or more similarly situated groups in an unequal manner. This inquiry does not call that these two classes of persons are similarly situated for all legal purposes, but whether they are similarly situated for purposes of the law in question. The court must determine whether these two classes are different in similar factual presentation and outcomes with respect to implementation of said law to warrant disparate treatment. If the two groups are similarly situated, the next question is whether the state has justified the disparate treatment, applying either the rational basis or strict scrutiny test, as appropriate, to analyze the statute's constitutionality.
Defendant acknowledges that case law has recognized that criminality and dangerousness is the basis for adopting different types of civil commitments, but points out that consideration of prior criminal conduct as a basis for distinguishing among dangerous persons must be reasonable. The law enacting Murphy conservatorship, creates a divide between LPS Conservatees and Murphy conservatees as Murphy conservatorships bear the requirement that the person is a substantial danger to others by reason of mental disease whereas LPS Conservatees need only prove current grave disability. Although the court may assume the argument that the statute denies equal protection over this fact, defendant argues that for the sake of placement in state hospital and punishment, defendant’s incompetence to stand trial bears no rational relationship to grave disability as the issue before the court is whether placement in a closed locked treatment facility is the same as state hospital placement for sake of conduct credits. Defendant argues that it is not a reasonable distinction to say that individuals in the situation of being “forced” into a closed locked facility are
distinguishable from state hospital for conduct credit reasons. Defendant does acknowledges that civil commitment proceedings are not criminal proceeding, but they are often collateral to a criminal trial. He avers that some constitutional protections available in the criminal context apply to defendants in certain commitment proceedings as a matter of ensuring due process as involuntary state sanctioned confinement can “assure in many cases an unbroken and indefinite period of state-sanctioned confinement [given that] the theoretical maximum period of detention is life as successive petitions may be filed”. (Conservatorship of Roulet (1979) 23 Cal.3d 219, 223-224 at pp. 223–224, 230, fn. omitted [further noting unfair stigma and special threats to reputation attached to grave disability proceedings). The nature of due process protection claims require a finding that the groups are similarly situated for purposes of requiring the state to justify this disparate treatment and defendant asserts that there is no justification factually. The primary benefit of involuntary placement of a Murphy conservatee in a closed locked treatment facility is that it provides them with individualized treatment and protection of the public; a mirror goal that exists for all state hospital involuntary commitment schemes.
[DEFENDANT again needs to distinguish between the timelines for when Murphy conservatorships which can be renewed and the fact that he has been released from state hospital BUT is technically on Murphy still so the risk of return to state hospital is there but less so. DISTINGUISH centering on criminal procedures not Murphy since that is what opposing counsel will focus on.]
To withhold the credits from those committed to treatment facilities would discourage prisoners from accepting treatment plans and would be akin to treating Murphy conservatees in closed locked treatment facilities as unequal to inmates in state hospitals.
Legislature has recently provided that inmates convicted of certain serious felonies can earn only a greatly reduced amount of credit and that those who commit other particularly violent crimes are not entitled to any credits Pen. Code, § 2933.1; 2933.5; Welf. Inst. Code, § 3052.)
Check the case file and with counsel about whether defendant’s charges are of such a nature.
Juvenile Dependency and