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The fact that police question a person as a suspect in a crime does not inherently create a "compelling" setting that requires a Miranda-like warning for Oregon constitutional purposes.
Police officer questioned defendant John Howard Carlson about needle marks on his arms without first advising defendant of his constitutional rights. Defendant responded that the marks were injuries that he had received from working on a car. Defendant’s wife, who was present during the exchange and close enough to hear what was being said, broke in by yelling that defendant was lying. Defendant hung his head and shook his head back and forth. Defendant was indicted for unlawful possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a minor. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress the statements that he made about the marks on his arms, arguing that he was in custody when he spoke with the police and was not advised of his constitutional rights. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that the interview was a “noncustodial interrogation” and admitted defendant’s statements. Defendant was convicted of the crimes charged. The Court of Appeals affirmed. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the admission of his statements to the police officer about marks on his arms violated his right against self-incrimination under Article I, section 12, of the Oregon Constitution, and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Did the admission of the defendant’s statements to the police officer about the marks on his arms violate his right against self-incrimination?
The Court held that the admission of defendant's statement did not violate Or. Const. art. I, § 12 or U.S. Const. amend. V because defendant was not under arrest and could have refused to answer questions. According to the Court, the fact that police questioned a person as a suspect in a crime did not inherently create a "compelling" setting that required a Miranda-like warning for Oregon constitutional purposes. The Court further held that the wife's statement was admissible as an excited utterance pursuant to Or. Evid. Code 803(2), because there was a startling event and the statement was made while the excitement persisted. However, the Court held that the defendant's nonverbal reaction to the wife’s statements were inadmissible under Or. Evid. Code 801(4)(b)(B), because the state failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant intended to adopt, agree, or approve the contents of wife's statement.