The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides protection against compelled self-incrimination. Police are required to use certain procedural safeguards to secure this protection, including warning individuals involved in a custodial interrogation that they have the right to remain silent and that any statement made can be used against them. A failure to provide this warning, called the Miranda warning, prior to custodial interrogation can result in suppression of the statements made during the interrogation, unless there is an applicable exception. The Fifth District recently considered the application of the public safety exception to Miranda in State v. Maloney.
This case arose from a shootout between two rival motorcycle gangs in a VFW parking lot. The first police officer to arrive on the scene saw several people in the parking lot, some who were seriously injured and two who were dead. He requested assistance from all available officers and deputies. The dispatch request indicated there was ongoing shooting. To secure the scene, police handcuffed between 30 and 40 people and had them lie on the ground. They roped off the parking lot and controlled access to the scene.
The defendant was among those who were handcuffed. He was patted down and searched. Another officer seized a knife and a .22 caliber pistol from him and placed them near the defendant so that they could be collected and inventoried later.