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Miranda advisory not needed during MN drunk driving cases, court rules.

Miranda advisory not needed during MN drunk driving cases, court rules

An audio recording of a Mankato, MN, police officer's conversation with a drunken driving suspect during delivery of the implied consent advisory was properly admitted at trial, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled.

A three-judge panel, in a ruling to be filed this week, affirmed a Blue Earth County trial court's conclusion that such evidence was admissible even though the defendant was not informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to consult with an attorney.

The opinion upheld the conviction of James Gene Whitehead, who was found guilty by a jury of driving while under the influence of alcohol and driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more.

Evidence at Whitehead's trial included a video recording of the conversation between Whitehead and the police officer as the officer delivered the implied consent advisory at the Mankato law enforcement center.

As part of the advisory, the officer said he believed Whitehead had driven while under the influence and that Minnesota law required him to take an alcohol test. The video recording also included more than 100 statements or inquiries by Whitehead and the officer during the advisory interview.

Whitehead had asked that the audio portion of the recording be suppressed. But the trial court observed that informing a drunken driving suspect of his rights to remain silent and consult with an attorney - as required prior to interrogations under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1966 ruling in Miranda vs. Arizona - has not been required in connection with implied consent advisories.

In upholding the lower court's ruling, the Appeals Court cited a June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in a Pennsylvania case.

"It is not interrogation to provide a driver with relevant information about chemical testing and the implied consent law," wrote Appeals Court Judge Gary Crippen. Also, Crippen said, asking for a driver's decision to permit or refuse chemical testing is not considered interrogation under the Miranda ruling.
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Title Annotation:Miranda rules, Minnesota Court of Appeals
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jul 30, 1990
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