Miranda-Goodchild Hearing


I listened to the attorney webinar earlier today where Tom Grieve briefly touched on the Miranda-Goodchild hearing. I’ll admit, I’d never heard of it - so I followed Tom’s advice and I googled:

Miranda–Goodchild hearing is “designed to examine (1) whether an accused in custody received Miranda warnings, understood them, and thereafter waived the right to remain silent and the right to the presence of an attorney; and (2) whether the admissions to police were the voluntary product of rational intellect and free, unconstrained will.” State v. Jiles, 2003 WI 66, 25, 262 Wis.2d 457, 663 N.W.2d 798

Legal nuances have always intrigued me - some are incredibly frustrating and some are brilliant. This one leans toward the brilliant for me.

Sure a police officer can read someone their rights, but do they really understand them? I have to wonder, how many people used this type of hearing to say they didn’t understand their rights after stating they did when they talked with the police.

It’s an interesting concept to me.

Do you really understand your Miranda rights? And do you agree that there should be such a thing as a Miranda-Goodchild hearing available to determine if someone really understood their rights?

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I think most folks don’t appreciate the subtleties invoked when being questioned by a police officer, nor do they understand at what point asserting a right to silence is good for their case. A Miranda-Goodchild hearing is, of course, just another evidentiary hearing that tries to unwind that uncertainty.

Clarity and standard language is crucial for the accused to understand what is happening (assuming a reasonable, competent person), but the manipulative techniques interrogators use to elicit results run completely counter to clarity. It’s a game of “Gotcha”, and the investigators and prosecutors will never agree to changing its rules. So a Miranda-Goodchild proceeding is the only hope.

How many? I have no idea, but I’m sure it’s too few. It’s a time sink for overworked public defenders.