Howes v Fields – Term Paper

Supreme court case study

The Miranda decision is pretty cut and dried when police want to question someone about a crime when that person is not free to leave. The police may still question the person if they desire, but they run the risk of the person’s statements being inadmissible in court. But what if the police want to ask questions of someone who is already behind bars;whether in jail or prison;about something unrelated to the crime for which he or she is being held? Does the fact that the person is being held by the government imply that he or she is not free to leave the room? Do the same rules apply as for someone who is not incarcerated? This was the question before the U.S. Supreme Court in Howes v. Fields.

The Miranda warning was created to inform suspects to remain silent and retain an attorney before police question them. The sign highlights the question, when is it relevant to for the police to give Miranda warning to a suspect. Fields were serving 45 days sentence in Lakeland County Correctional Facility when he was questioned about his participation in unrelated crime activities. The deputy removed Fields from his cell and interrogated him in a conference room for several hours. Fields were never informed of his Miranda right, but he was told several times that he was free to leave the conference room whenever he felt like it. In the interview, he made incriminating statements that were used against him. Fields challenged the ruling arguing that his 5th Amendment rights were ignored by not reading him his Miranda right before the interrogation.

Correctional officer responsibilities

A correctional officer has many responsibilities; the responsibilities should not precede the law and infringe on rights of individuals. Ever after the incident most correctional officers ensure the Miranda is gone through before interrogation. There is still a deep consideration of involvement of already imprisoned persons in evidence gathering. It is clearly noted that not even the freedom to leave substitutes, Miranda.

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Inmates can get away with crimes they commit or conceal information that can lead to the detention of an individual. On the understanding that upon issuing a Miranda, the interview can be used in a court of law. Inmates are not obliged to provide information; they can choose to remain silent about the matters that surround them and the questions that face them.

Intimidating behavior in police custody

Physical and psychological intimidation are common, especially in police custody. Most police can use this to their advantage. The statement provided should be voluntary; the police can use different mechanisms to force someone to provide information. Such coerced information is not admissible in a court of law as evidence. Police can fail to give a Miranda warning to a suspect who leads them to put the pieces of the evidence together. If the police successfully prove that they would have gathered the evidence without their line of questioning, the statement and evidence gathered are acceptable.

Under interrogation and while in custody, a police can issue Miranda warning to a suspect. The two situations call for the warning to be issued.

Telling the defendant he was free to leave whenever he felt like, offering him food and water, leaving him unhand-cuffed, using a conference room, not locking the door and not threatening him can lead us to a conclusion that the statements were voluntary and therefore, no need for Miranda Violation


We can conclude that an inmate in a county jail does not differ with the one in prison. Care should be taken when handling someone who was just arrested. The meaning of this ruling is that a prisoner who has been incarcerated is comfortable speaking to the officers is not a harrowing ordeal. This case is entirely different when we look at a new individual.


Oyez. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2017, from

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from;CID=2C536EC399D1613F365A64FA98E0606C;rd=1;h=jtSE3rAKpc6HvF5WUeK_ojBmbdCiz6L11OhU1rpYLck;v=1;r=;p=DevEx,5060.1