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Wisconsin Supreme Court Affirms Milwaukee County Homicide Conviction; Milwaukee Police Properly Informed Marchand Grady of His Miranda Rights and Properly Obtained His Inciminating Statements

 

"Miranda warnings protect a suspect's constitutional right to be free from compelled self-incrimination," says Van Hollen.  "Here, Milwaukee police fully informed Grady of his right to remain silent.  Grady knew what he was doing.  The circuit court properly admitted his statements."

 

MADISON -  In Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court held that when police officers take a suspect into custody, they must advise him of his right to remain silent before asking him any questions.  This morning, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held unanimously that Marchand Grady's incriminating statements to City of Milwaukee police officers were admissible, even though the officers gave him Miranda warnings two and one-half hours before taking him into custody.

 

"Miranda warnings protect a suspect's constitutional right to be free from compelled self-incrimination," explained Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, whose office represented the State of Wisconsin in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  "Here, Milwaukee police fully informed Grady of his right to remain silent.  Grady knew what he was doing.  The circuit court properly admitted his statements."

 

Milwaukee police officers encountered Grady during the investigation of a 2005 homicide.  Grady assisted the officers in locating the victim's roommate, and then voluntarily accompanied them to a police station to answer additional questions.  An officer gave Grady Miranda warnings before asking any questions; Grady said he understood his various rights and agreed to answer questions.  During the questioning, officers received information that Grady was the person who killed the victim.  The officers then arrested Grady, but did not repeat the Miranda warnings at that time.  During later questioning, Grady made statements implicating himself in the victim's death.  The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office charged Grady with multiple felonies, including first-degree intentional homicide.

 

Grady argued that the circuit court should have suppressed his incriminating statements because the officers did not repeat the Miranda warnings after they placed Grady under arrest.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court disagreed, holding that under the totality of the circumstances, Grady was aware of his rights and voluntarily chose to speak with the officers.

 

From the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision and opinion:

            The issue we decide today is whether Grady's Fifth Amendment rights were violated when Miranda warnings were given to him before the start of his noncustodial interrogation, but not administered again after his interrogation became custodial during the same interview two-and-one-half hours later. Grady argues that he was entitled to be readvised of his Miranda rights after his interrogation became custodial, and because those warnings were not readministered, his inculpatory statements should have been suppressed.

 

            We reject Grady's bright-line rule approach, and reiterate that the proper framework for analyzing the sufficiency of the timing of Miranda warnings is a totality of the circumstances test. In this case, we hold that Grady was not entitled to a readministration of the Miranda warnings after he was arrested. The evidence shows that Grady was read his Miranda warnings only two-and-one-half hours prior to the commencement of the custodial portion of his interrogation, there was no significant change in the nature of his interrogation after it became custodial, Grady showed no signs of mental impairment, he was familiar with Miranda warnings from his past, and, though not readministered, Grady was reminded of his Miranda rights after he was taken into custody. In sum, it is clear that the Miranda warnings as administered made Grady sufficiently aware of his rights during questioning. Grady's motion to suppress his inculpatory statements was therefore appropriately denied by the circuit court, and we affirm the decision of the court of appeals upholding that denial.

 

Marchand Grady's criminal convictions remain in full force and effect.  He remains incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.

 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision and opinion in State of Wisconsin v. Marchand Grady, No. 2007AP672-CR, appears on the court's website:


http://www.wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=36783

 

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office prosecuted Grady in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.  Assistant Attorney General Warren D. Weinstein represented the State in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.