On a recent episode of “Cops,” a bare-chested, shoe-less fool complained that the officers hadn’t read him his Miranda rights. The officers were asking him about a fight that had just taken place. The shoe-less wonder wasn’t a suspect, so Miranda wasn’t necessary.
The common right of inquiry allows law enforcement agents to question civilians—Miranda warnings are not required. Answers provided during such inquiries are legal and valid at trial. Miranda only applies to suspects in custody. If you are skulking about the neighborhood, an officer has the right to stop and question you.
Custody is defined as the legal physical control of a person or object. Police custody occurs when a person is detained by law enforcement and not permitted to leave on his/her own accord. Once a person is taken into custody, police officers must be careful to read the Miranda warnings before beginning any interrogation.
The shoe-less wonder eventually got his wish. After throwing a fit and lunging at the officers, he was arrested….and Mirandized.