Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978)

Author: Justice Stewart

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Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978)

MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

On the afternoon of October 28, 1974, undercover police officer Barry Headricks of the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad knocked on the door of an apartment in Tucson, Ariz., occupied by the petitioner, Rufus Mincey. Earlier in the day, Officer Headricks had allegedly arranged to purchase a quantity of heroin from Mincey and had left, ostensibly to obtain money. On his return, he was accompanied by nine other plainclothes policemen and a deputy county attorney. The door was opened by John Hodgman, one of three acquaintances of Mincey who were in the living room of the apartment. Officer Headricks slipped inside and moved quickly into the bedroom. Hodgman attempted to slam the door in order to keep the other officers from entering, but was pushed back against the wall. As the police entered the apartment, a rapid volley of shots was heard from the bedroom. Officer Headricks emerged and collapsed on the floor. When other officers entered the bedroom, they found Mincey lying on the floor, wounded and semiconscious. Officer Headricks died a few hours later in the hospital.

The petitioner was indicted for murder, assault,{1} and three counts of narcotics offenses. He was tried at a single trial, and convicted on all the charges. At his trial and on appeal, he contended that evidence used against him had been unlawfully seized from his apartment without a warrant, and that statements used to impeach his credibility were inadmissible because they had not been made voluntarily. The Arizona Supreme Court reversed the murder and assault convictions on state law grounds,{2} but affirmed the narcotics convictions. 115 Ariz. 472, 566 P.2d 273. It held that the warrantless search of a homicide scene is permissible under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and that Mincey’s statements were voluntary. We granted certiorari to consider these substantial constitutional questions. 434 U.S. 902.


The first question presented is whether the search of Mincey’s apartment was constitutionally permissible. After the shooting, the narcotics agents, thinking that other persons in the apartment might have been injured, looked about quickly for other victims. They found a young woman wounded in the bedroom closet, and Mincey, apparently unconscious in the bedroom, as well as Mincey’s three acquaintances (one of whom had been wounded in the head) in the living room. Emergency assistance was requested, and some medical aid was administered to Officer Headricks. But the agents refrained from further investigation, pursuant to a Tucson Police Department directive that police officers should not investigate incidents in which they are involved. They neither searched further nor seized any evidence; they merely guarded the suspects and the premises.

Within 10 minutes, however, homicide detectives who had heard a radio report of the shooting arrived and took charge of the investigation. They supervised the removal of Officer Headricks and the suspects, trying to make sure that the scene was disturbed as little as possible, and then proceeded to gather evidence. Their search lasted four days,{3} during which period the entire apartment was searched, photographed, and diagrammed. The officers opened drawers, closets, and cupboards, and inspected their contents; they emptied clothing pockets; they dug bullet fragments out of the walls and floors; they pulled up sections of the carpet and removed them for examination. Every item in the apartment was closely examined and inventoried, and 200 to 300 objects were seized. In short, Mincey’s apartment was subjected to an exhaustive and intrusive search. No warrant was ever obtained.

The petitioner’s pretrial motion to suppress the fruits of this search was denied after a hearing. Much of the evidence introduced against him at trial (including photographs and diagrams, bullets and shell casings, guns, narcotics, and narcotics paraphernalia) was the product of the four-day search of his apartment. On appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court reaffirmed previous decisions in which it had held that the warrantless search of the scene of a homicide is constitutionally permissible.{4} It stated its ruling as follows:

We hold a reasonable, warrantless search of the scene of a homicide -- or of a serious personal injury with likelihood of death where there is reason to suspect foul play -- does no violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution where the law enforcement officers were legally on the premises in the first instance. For the search to be reasonable, the purpose must be limited to determining the circumstances of death and the scope must not exceed that purpose. The search must also begin within a reasonable period following the time when the officials first learn of the murder (or potential murder).

115 Ariz. at 482, 566 P.2d at 283. Since the investigating homicide detectives knew that Officer Headricks was seriously injured, began the search promptly upon their arrival at the apartment, and searched only for evidence either establishing the circumstances of death or "relevant to motive and intent or knowledge (narcotics, e.g.)," id. at 483, 566 P.2d at 284, the court found that the warrantless search of the petitioner’s apartment had not violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

We cannot agree. The Fourth Amendment proscribes all unreasonable searches and seizures, and it is a cardinal principle that

searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment -- subject only to a few specifically established and well delineated exceptions.

Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (footnotes omitted); see also South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 381 (POWELL, J., concurring); Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 481; Vale v. Louisiana, 399 U.S. 30, 34; Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20; Trupiano v. United States, 334 U.S. 699, 705. The Arizona Supreme Court did not hold that the search of the petitioner’s apartment fell within any of the exceptions to the warrant requirement previously recognized by this Court, but, rather, that the search of a homicide scene should be recognized as an additional exception. Several reasons are advanced by the State to meet its "burden . . . to show the existence of such an exceptional situation" as to justify creating a new exception to the warrant requirement. See Vale v. Louisiana, supra at 34; United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51. None of these reasons, however, persuades us of the validity of the generic exception delineated by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The first contention is that the search of the petitioner’s apartment did not invade any constitutionally protected right of privacy. See Katz v. United States, supra. This argument appears to have two prongs. On the one hand, the State urges that, by shooting Officer Headricks, Mincey forfeited any reasonable expectation of privacy in his apartment. We have recently rejected a similar waiver argument in Michigan v. Tyler, 436 U.S. 499, 505-506; it suffices here to say that this reasoning would impermissibly convict the suspect even before the evidence against him was gathered.{5} On the other hand, the State contends that the police entry to arrest Mincey was so great an invasion of his privacy that the additional intrusion caused by the search was constitutionally irrelevant. But this claim is hardly tenable in light of the extensive nature of this search. It is one thing to say that one who is legally taken into police custody has a lessened right of privacy in his person. See United States v. Edwards, 415 U.S. 800, 808-809; United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218. It is quite another to argue that he also has a lessened right of privacy in his entire house. Indeed this very argument was rejected when it was advanced to support the warrantless search of a dwelling where a search occurred as "incident" to the arrest of its occupant. Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 766 n. 12. Thus, this search cannot be justified on the ground that no constitutionally protected right of privacy was invaded.

The State’s second argument in support of its categorical exception to the warrant requirement is that a possible homicide presents an emergency situation demanding immediate action. We do not question the right of the police to respond to emergency situations. Numerous state{6} and federal{7} cases have recognized that the Fourth Amendment does not bar police officers from making warrantless entries and searches when they reasonably believe that a person within is in need of immediate aid. Similarly, when the police come upon the scene of a homicide, they may make a prompt warrantless search of the area to see if there are other victims or if a killer is still on the premises. Cf. Michigan v. Tyler, supra at 509-510.

The need to protect or preserve life or avoid serious injury is justification for what would be otherwise illegal absent an exigency or emergency.

Wayne v.United States, 115 U.S.App.D.C. 234, 241, 318 F.2d 205, 212 (opinion of Burger, J.). And the police may seize any evidence that is in plain view during the course of their legitimate emergency activities. Michigan v. Tyler, supra at 509-510; Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. at 465-466.

But a warrantless search must be "strictly circumscribed by the exigencies which justify its initiation," Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. at 25-26, and it simply cannot be contended that this search was justified by any emergency threatening life or limb. All the persons in Mincey’s apartment had been located before the investigating homicide officers arrived there and began their search. And a four-day search that included opening dresser drawers and ripping up carpets can hardly be rationalized in terms of the legitimate concerns that justify an emergency search.

Third, the State points to the vital public interest in the prompt investigation of the extremely serious crime of murder. No one can doubt the importance of this goal. But the public interest in the investigation of other serious crimes is comparable. If the warrantless search of a homicide scene is reasonable, why not the warrantless search of the scene of a rape, a robbery, or a burglary? "No consideration relevant to the Fourth Amendment suggests any point of rational limitation" of such a doctrine. Chimel v. California, supra at 766.

Moreover, the mere fact that law enforcement may be made more efficient can never, by itself, justify disregard of the Fourth Amendment. Cf. Coolidge v. New Hampshire, supra at 481. The investigation of crime would always be simplified if warrants were unnecessary. But the Fourth Amendment reflects the view of those who wrote the Bill of Rights that the privacy of a person’s home and property may not be totally sacrificed in the name of maximum simplicity in enforcement of the criminal law. See United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 11. For this reason, warrants are generally required to search a person’s home or his person unless "the exigencies of the situation" make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that the warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 456; Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14-15. See, e.g., Chimel v. California, supra, (search of arrested suspect and area within his control for weapons or evidence); Warden v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294, 298-300 ("hot pursuit" of fleeing suspect); Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 770-771 (imminent destruction of evidence); see also supra at 392-393.

Except for the fact that the offense under investigation was a homicide, there were no exigent circumstances in this case, as, indeed, the Arizona Supreme Court recognized. 115 Ariz. at 482, 566 P.2d at 283. There was no indication that evidence would be lost, destroyed, or removed during the time required to obtain a search warrant. Indeed, the police guard at the apartment minimized that possibility. And there is no suggestion that a search warrant could not easily and conveniently have been obtained. We decline to hold that the seriousness of the offense under investigation itself creates exigent circumstances of the kind that under the Fourth Amendment justify a warrantless search.

Finally, the State argues that the "murder scene exception" is constitutionally permissible because it is narrowly confined by the guidelines set forth in the decision of the Arizona Supreme Court, see supra at 389-390.{8} In light of the extensive search that took place in this case, it may be questioned what protection the guidelines afford a person in whose home a homicide or assault occurs. Indeed, these so-called guidelines are hardly so rigidly confining as the State seems to assert. They confer unbridled discretion upon the individual officer to interpret such terms as "reasonable . . . search," "serious personal injury with likelihood of death where there is reason to suspect foul play," and "reasonable period." It is precisely this kind of judgmental assessment of the reasonableness and scope of a proposed search that the Fourth Amendment requires be made by a neutral and objective magistrate, not a police officer. See, e.g., United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297, 316; Coolidge v. New Hampshire, supra at 449-453; Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364, 371; Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 481-482.

It may well be that the circumstances described by the Arizona Supreme Court would usually be constitutionally sufficient to warrant a search of substantial scope. But the Fourth Amendment requires that this judgment, in each case, be made in the first instance by a neutral magistrate.

The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime.

Johnson v. United States, supra at 13-14.

In sum, we hold that the "murder scene exception" created by the Arizona Supreme Court is inconsistent with the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments -- that the warrantless search of Mincey’s apartment was not constitutionally permissible simply because a homicide had recently occurred there.{9}


Since there will presumably be a new trial in this case,{10} it is appropriate to consider also the petitioner’s contention that statements he made from a hospital bed were involuntary, and therefore could not constitutionally be used against him at his trial.

Mincey was brought to the hospital after the shooting and taken immediately to the emergency room, where he was examined and treated. He had sustained a wound in his hip, resulting in damage to the sciatic nerve and partial paralysis of his right leg. Tubes were inserted into his throat to help him breathe, and through his nose into his stomach to keep him from vomiting; a catheter was inserted into his bladder. He received various drugs, and a device was attached to his arm so that he could be fed intravenously. He was then taken to the intensive care unit.

At about eight o’clock that evening, Detective Hust of the Tucson Police Department came to the intensive care unit to interrogate him. Mincey was unable to talk because of the tube in his mouth, and so he responded to Detective Hust’s questions by writing answers on pieces of paper provided by the hospital.{11} Hust told Mincey he was under arrest for the murder of a police officer, gave him the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, and began to ask questions about the events that had taken place in Mincey’s apartment a few hours earlier. Although Mincey asked repeatedly that the interrogation stop until he could get a lawyer, Hust continued to question him until almost midnight.

After a pretrial hearing, see Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, the trial court found that Mincey had responded to this interrogation voluntarily.{12} When Mincey took the witness stand at his trial, his statements in response to Detective Hust’s questions were used in an effort to impeach his testimony in several respects.{13} On appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court indicated its belief that, because Detective Hust had failed to honor Mincey’s request for a lawyer, the statements would have been inadmissible as part of the prosecution’s case in chief. Miranda v. Arizona, supra. But, relying on Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222, and Oregon v. Hass, 420 U.S. 714, it held that, since the trial court’s finding of voluntariness was not "clear[ly] and manifest[ly]" erroneous, the statements were properly used for purposes of impeachment. 115 Ariz. at 480, 566 P.2d at 281.

Statements made by a defendant in circumstances violating the strictures of Miranda v. Arizona, supra, are admissible for impeachment if their "trustworthiness . . . satisfies legal standards." Harris v. New York, supra at 224; Oregon v. Hass, supra at 722. But any criminal trial use against a defendant of his involuntary statement is a denial of due process of law "even though there is ample evidence aside from the confession to support the conviction." Jackson v. Denno, supra at 376; Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, 518; Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528, 537; Stroble v. California, 343 U.S. 181, 190; see Chapman v. California, 386 U.S. 18, 23 and n. 8. If, therefore, Mincey’s statements to Detective Hust were not "`the product of a rational intellect and a free will,’" Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 307, quoting Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U.S. 199, 208, his conviction cannot stand. In making this critical determination, we are not bound by the Arizona Supreme Court’s holding that the statements were voluntary. Instead, this Court is under a duty to make an independent evaluation of the record. Davis v. North Carolina, 34 U.S. 737, 741-742; Haynes v. Washington, supra at 515-516.

It is hard to imagine a situation less conducive to the exercise of "a rational intellect and a free will" than Mincey’s. He had been seriously wounded just a few hours earlier, and had arrived at the hospital "depressed almost to the point of coma," according to his attending physician. Although he had received some treatment, his condition at the time of Hust’s interrogation was still sufficiently serious that he was in the intensive care unit.{14} He complained to Hust that the pain in his leg was "unbearable." He was evidently confused and unable to think clearly about either the events of that afternoon or the circumstances of his interrogation, since some of his written answers were, on their face, not entirely coherent.{15} Finally, while Mincey was being questioned, he was lying on his back on a hospital bed, encumbered by tubes, needles, and breathing apparatus. He was, in short, "at the complete mercy" of Detective Hust, unable to escape or resist the thrust of Hust’s interrogation. Cf. Beecher v. Alabama, 389 U.S. 35, 38.

In this debilitated and helpless condition, Mincey clearly expressed his wish not to be interrogated. As soon as Hust’s questions turned to the details of the afternoon’s events, Mincey wrote: "This is all I can say without a lawyer." Hust nonetheless continued to question him, and a nurse who was present suggested it would be best if Mincey answered. Mincey gave unresponsive or uninformative answers to several more questions, and then said again that he did not want to talk without a lawyer. Hust ignored that request and another made immediately thereafter.{16} Indeed, throughout the interrogation, Mincey vainly asked Hust to desist. Moreover, he complained several times that he was confused or unable to think clearly, or that he could answer more accurately the next day.{17} But despite Mincey’s entreaties to be let alone, Hust ceased the interrogation only during intervals when Mincey lost consciousness or received medical treatment, and, after each such interruption, returned relentlessly to his task. The statements at issue were thus the result of virtually continuous questioning of a seriously and painfully wounded man on the edge of consciousness.

There were not present in this case some of the gross abuses that have led the Court in other cases to find confessions involuntary, such as beatings, see Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278, or "truth serums," see Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293. But "the blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition." Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U.S. at 206. Determination of whether a statement is involuntary "requires more than a mere color-matching of cases." Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S. 433, 442. It requires careful evaluation of all the circumstances of the interrogation.{18}

It is apparent from the record in this case that Mincey’s statements were not "the product of his free and rational choice." Greenwald v. Wisconsin, 390 U.S. 519, 521. To the contrary, the undisputed evidence makes clear that Mincey wanted not to answer Detective Hust. But Mincey was weakened by pain and shock, isolated from family, friends, and legal counsel, and barely conscious, and his will was simply overborne. Due process of law requires that statements obtained as these were cannot be used in any way against a defendant at his trial.


For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the Arizona Supreme Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

It s so ordered.

1. The assault charge was based on the wounding of a person in the living room who was hit by a bullet that came through the wall.

2. The state appellate court held that the jury had been improperly instructed on criminal intent. It appears from the record in this case that the retrial of the petitioner on the murder and assault charges was stayed by the trial court after certiorari was granted by this Court.

3. The police also returned to the apartment in November, 1974, at the request of the petitioner’s landlord, to remove property of the petitioner that remained in the apartment after his lease had expired on October 31.

4. State v. Sample, 107 Ariz. 407, 489 P.2d 44; State ex rel. Berger v. Superior Court, 110 Ariz. 281, 517 P.2d 1277; State v. Duke, 110 Ariz. 320, 518 P.2d 570. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by the defendant, whose conviction was upheld in State v. Sample, supra, on the ground, inter alia, that the warrantless search of the homicide scene violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Sample v. Eyman, 469 F.2d 819.

5. Moreover, this rationale would be inapplicable if a homicide occurred at the home of the victim or of a stranger, yet the Arizona cases indicate that a warrantless search in such a case would also be permissible under the "murder scene exception." Cf. State v. Sample, supra, at 409, 489 P.2d at 46.

6. E.g., People v. Hill, 12 Cal.3d 731, 753-757, 528 P.2d 1, 18-21; Patrick v. State, 227 A.2d 486, 488-490 (Del.); People v. Brooks, 7 Ill.App.3d 767, 775-777, 289 N.E.2d 207, 212-214; Maxey v. State, 251 Ind. 645, 649-650, 244 N.E.2d 650, 653-654; Davis v. State, 236 Md. 389, 395-397, 204 A.2d 76, 80-82; State v. Hardin, 90 Nev. 10, 518 P.2d 151; State v. Gosser, 50 N.J. 438, 446-448, 236 A.2d 377, 381-382; People v. Mitchell, 39 N.Y.2d 173, 347 N.E.2d 607; State v. Pires, 55 Wis.2d 597, 603-605, 201 N.W.2d 153, 156-158. Other cases are collected in Note, The Emergency Doctrine, Civil Search and Seizure, and the Fourth Amendment, 43 Ford.L.Rev. 571, 584 n. 102 (1975). See also ALI Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure § SS 260.5 (Prop.Off.Draft 1975). By citing these cases and those in the note following, of course, we do not mean to approve the specific holding of each case.

7. E.g., Root v. Gauper, 438 F.2d 361, 364-365 (CA8); United States v. Barone, 330 F.2d 543 (CA2); Wayne v. United States, 115 U.S.App.D.C. 234, 238-243, 318 F.2d 205, 209-214 (opinion of Burger, J.); United States v. James, 408 F.Supp. 527, 533 (SD Miss.); United States ex rel. Parson v. Anderson, 354 F.Supp. 1060, 1086-1087 (Del.), aff’d, 481 F.2d 94 (CA3); see Warden v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294, 298-299; McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 454-456; Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14-15.

8. The State also relies on the fact that observance of these guidelines can be enforced by a motion to suppress evidence. But the Fourth Amendment "is designed to prevent, not simply to redress, unlawful police action." Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 766 n. 12.

9. To what extent, if any, the evidence found in Mincey’s apartment was permissibly seized under established Fourth Amendment standards will be for the Arizona courts to resolve on remand.

10. See alson. 2, supra.

11. Because of the way in which the interrogation was conducted, the only contemporaneous record consisted of Mincey’s written answers. Hust testified that, the next day, he went over this document and made a few notes to help him reconstruct the conversation. In a written report dated about a week later, Hust transcribed Mincey’s answers and added the questions he believed he had asked. It was this written report that was used to cross-examine Mincey at his subsequent trial.

12. The trial court made no findings of fact, nor did it make a specific finding of voluntariness, and the petitioner contends that admission of the statements therefore violated Jackson v. Denno. We agree with the Arizona Supreme Court, however, that the finding of voluntariness "appear[s] from the record with unmistakable clarity." Sims v. Georgia, 385 U.S. 538, 544. The petitioner had originally moved to suppress his written answers to Hust’s questions on two grounds: that they had been elicited in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, and that they had been involuntary. During the hearing, the prosecution stipulated that the answers would be used only to impeach the petitioner if he took the witness stand. Any violation of Miranda thus became irrelevant. Oregon v. Hass, 420 U.S. 714; Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222. The testimony and the briefs and arguments of counsel were thereafter directed solely to whether the answers had been voluntarily given, and the court specifically ruled that they would be admissible for impeachment purposes only. The court thus necessarily held that Mincey’s responses to Hust’s interrogation were voluntary.

13. In light of our holding that Mincey’s hospital statements were not voluntarily given, it is unnecessary to reach his alternative contention that their use against him was impermissible because they were not sufficiently inconsistent with his trial testimony.

14. A nurse testified at the suppression hearing that the device used to aid Mincey’s respiration was reserved for "more critical" patients. Moreover, Mincey apparently remained hospitalized for almost a month after the shooting. According to docket entries in the trial court, his arraignment was postponed several times because he was still in the hospital; he was not arraigned until November 26, 1974.

15. For example, two of the answers written by Mincey were: "Do you me Did he give me some money (no)" and "Every body know Every body." And Mincey apparently believed he was being questioned by several different policemen, not Hust alone; although it was Hust who told Mincey he had killed a policeman, later in the interrogation, Mincey indicated he thought it was someone else.

16. In his reconstruction of the interrogation, seen. 11, supra, Hust stated that, after he asked Mincey some questions to try to identify one of the other victims, the following ensued:

HUST: . . . What do you remember that happened?

MINCEY: I remember somebody standing over me saying "move, nigger, move." I was on the floor beside the bed.

HUST: Do you remember shooting anyone or firing a gun?

MINCEY: This is all I can say without a lawyer.

HUST: If you want a lawyer now, I cannot talk to you any longer, however, you don’t have to answer any questions if you don’t want to. Do you still want to talk to me?

MINCEY: (Shook his head in an affirmative manner.)

HUST: What else can you remember?

MINCEY: I’m going to have to put my head together. There are so many things that I don’t remember I. Like how did they get into the apartment?

HUST: How did who get into the apartment?

MINCEY: Police.

HUST: Did you sell some narcotics to the guy that was shot?

MINCEY: Do you mean, did he give me some money?

HUST: Yes.


HUST: Did you give him a sample?

MINCEY: What do you call a sample?

HUST: A small amount of drug or narcotic to test?

MINCEY: I can’t say without a lawyer.

HUST: Did anyone say police or narcs when they came into the apartment ?

MINCEY: Let me get myself together first. You see, I’m not for sure -- everything happened so fast. I can’t answer at this time, because I don’t think so, but I can’t say for sure. Some questions aren’t clear to me at the present time.

HUST: Did you shoot anyone?

MINCEY: I can’t say, I have to see a lawyer.

(Emphasis supplied.) While some of Mincey’s answers seem relatively responsive to the questions, it must be remembered that Hust added the questions at a later date, with the answers in front of him. Seen. 11, supra. The reliability of Hust’s report is uncertain. For example, Hust claimed that, immediately after Mincey first expressed a desire to remain silent, Hust said Mincey need not answer any questions, but Mincey responded by indicating that he wanted to continue. There is no contemporaneous record supporting Hust’s statement that Mincey acted so inconsistently immediately after asserting his wish not to respond further, nor did the nurse who was present during the interrogation corroborate Hust. The Arizona Supreme Court apparently disbelieved Hust in this respect, since it stated that, "after each indication from [Mincey] that he wanted to consult an attorney or that he wanted to stop answering questions, the police officer continued to question [him]." 115 Ariz. at 479, 566 P.2d at 280 (emphasis supplied).

17. In addition to the statements quoted in n. 16, supra, Mincey wrote at various times during the interrogation: "There are a lot of things that aren’t clear," "That’s why I have to have time to redo everything that happened in my mind," and "I’m not sure as of now." He also wrote:

If its possible to get a lawyer now. We can finish the talk. We could direct me in the right direction where as without a lawyer I might saw something thinking that it means something else.

And at another point, he wrote: "Lets rap tomorrow. face to face. I can’t give facts. If something happins that I don’t know about." Before the interrogation ended, Mincey made two further requests for a lawyer.

18. E.g., Boulden v. Holman, 394 U.S. 478, 480; Clewis v. Texas, 386 U.S. 707, 708; Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, 513-514.


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Chicago: Stewart, "Stewart, J., Lead Opinion," Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978) in 437 U.S. 385 437 U.S. 388–437 U.S. 402. Original Sources, accessed March 29, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CJYBYKQTS3AWE2U.

MLA: Stewart. "Stewart, J., Lead Opinion." Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978), in 437 U.S. 385, pp. 437 U.S. 388–437 U.S. 402. Original Sources. 29 Mar. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CJYBYKQTS3AWE2U.

Harvard: Stewart, 'Stewart, J., Lead Opinion' in Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978). cited in 1978, 437 U.S. 385, pp.437 U.S. 388–437 U.S. 402. Original Sources, retrieved 29 March 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CJYBYKQTS3AWE2U.