Illinois v. Perkins 496 U.S. 292, 110 S. Ct. 2394, 110 L. Ed.2d 243 (1990)
Perkins was in jail on
suspicion for murder. His cellmate (and prison snitch), Charlton, told
police that Perkins had confessed to him.
The police put an undercover
officer, Parisi, in the jail cell, under the guise of being another
prisoner. The three talked about escaping, and Parisi directly asked
Perkins if he'd ever killed anyone. Perkins confessed to his murder in
At trial, the trial judge
suppressed the confession. The prosecutor appealed.
The Trial Court found that Miranda
v. Arizona (384 U.S. 486 (1966))
prohibited all undercover contacts with incarcerated suspects that are
reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.
The Illinois Supreme Court
affirmed. The prosecutor appealed.
The US Supreme Court reversed
and found that the confession was admissible.
The US Supreme Court found
that Miranda Warnings was not
required when the suspect is unaware that he is speaking to a law
enforcement officer and gives a voluntary statement.
The Court found that the 5th
Amendment right against
self-incrimination requires a Miranda Warning any time the
suspect is in a coercive situation where he might feel compelled to
incriminate himself. In this case, Perkins thought he was talking to
another crook, and so could not have believed that law enforcement was
compelling him to make incriminating statements.
It could not have counted
as an interrogation because
Perkins didn't think he was talking to the police.
Btw, Perkins original
statement to Charlton was always admissible, but Charlton wasn't as
credible as a police officer, so the prosecution would have rather used
In a concurrence it was argued
that just because Perkins didn't feel compelled by the police, that
doesn't mean that he didn't feel compelled. He might have just been
trying to sound mean to get the respect of his cellmates. If true, that
would mean that Perkins was compelled by a police tactic, even if he
didn't know it was a police tactic.
In a dissent, it was argued
that the holding in Miranda was
not limited to police coercion, but with any police tactics designed to
get a suspect to make incriminating statements without full awareness of
their constitutional rights.
Compare this to the
subjective standard vs. objective standard arguments made with respect to
The basic rule laid out by
this case is that is that if there is no direct police coercion, (aka a
coercive atmosphere), then there is no requirement for a Miranda