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Volunteering Information to an Inmate Informant Does Not Require Miranda Warning

Tavares Hunt, a prisoner in the Cook County Jail (Illinois), became a suspect in the murder of Shakir Beckley. Mycal Davis, another prisoner, volunteered to become an informant and elicit incriminating information concerning the homicide. Wearing a wire, Davis participated in a judicially authorized overhear. When Hunt was being taken to a line up, he called his attorney who was representing him in the other matter to come to the lineup. The attorney waited 45 minutes to see his client, who was conversing with Davis in an empty room while the police listened in.

When the grand jury eventually indicted Hunt for Beckley's murder, Hunt moved to suppress the incriminating evidence. The trial court granted his motion. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. The State appealed to the Supreme Court of State of Illinois.

The Supreme Court ruled that since Hunt was not subjected to police "custodial interrogation" during the conversation with Davis, McCauley was not applicable. Police were not required to give Miranda warning and defendant had no right to counsel nor was the police required to inform Hunt that his attorney wanted access to him.

The State appealed the suppression of the incriminating statements made to an inmate-informant pursuant to People v. McCauley, 163 Ill. 2d (1994), where Illinois Constitution was violated when defendants retained an attorney unbeknownst to him. The attorney unsuccessfully attempted to gain access to his client at the police station. The McCauley ruling provides greater right-to-counsel and due process protection than the United States Constitution. After 45 minute wait to gain access to his client, the judicially authorized overhear with the inmate-informant and Hunt was over and incriminating statements recorded. The Supreme Court reversed the suppression on McCauley grounds. See: The People of the State of Illinois v. Hunt, 2012 IL 111089, 969 N.E.2d 819 (Ill. 2012).

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Related legal case

The People of the State of Illinois v. Hunt