As I wrote previously, the Miranda warning is a fiction created by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Nowhere in the Constitution will you find anything even close to a requirement to advise criminal suspects of their rights.
Miranda is grossly misunderstood. Movies and television give the impression that Miranda must be read immediately upon arrest or the arrest is invalid. This is far from the case. Miranda is two pronged. The first prong is that a person must be in custody. The second prong is that a person must be being asked investigative questions. A person not in custody can be freely questioned without having been read the warning as long as the person consents to the questioning.
Let us examine the following scenario:
A peace officer on patrol spots a bandit snatching a purse from a lady. The peace officer chases down the bandit, captures him, and then hauls him to jail. The peace officer never asks the suspect any questions about the crime and the Miranda warning is never read.
Good arrest? Bad arrest? Will the case be tanked due to the lack of the warning?
The answer is good arrest with no Miranda issues.
Now, if the peace officer, after having captured the suspect, had chosen to ask the suspect questions about the crime, the warning would have been required. Failure to do read the warning would have resulted in any evidence obtained as a result of the questioning being thrown out of court. It is important to note that the initial arrest would still be a good arrest.
Since we have gotten all of the above out of the way, we can move on to the point of this piece which is the public safety exception. This exception is triggered only when there is immediate danger. It originated in the case of New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984), in which officers responding to a reported rape approached a suspect in a grocery store and captured him after a short chase. During a frisk of the suspect, an empty holster was discovered, and upon being asked where the gun was, the suspect gave up the location. He was later Mirandized and formally questioned.
At trial, the court tossed the disclosure of the firearm’s location as well as all resulting questioning. The ruling was appealed and initially upheld, but the SCOTUS reversed the rulings of the lower courts and held that the initial questions were prompted by an immediate concern for public safety.
Note the use of the word “immediate”. The Court didn’t establish a blanket exception here. It only established an exception when there is an immediate public safety concern. Once that initial immediate public safety concern is alleviated the exception no longer applies. In the scenario of the Quarles case, once the firearm was located the officers read the warning prior to formally questioning the suspect.
So, suppose a bombing suspect was hiding in a boat in someone’s back yard, and a swarm of cops descended upon the scene to capture him. Whilst doing so, if they asked about bombs and weapons in an attempt to safely secure the suspect and the scene, then such questions would be good to go. However, when that suspect, should he survive his wounds, is formally questioned about his involvement in the bombing and ties to terror organizations, Miranda will most definitely apply.
None of this would matter in the first place if SCOTUS had not created the Miranda warning in the first place.