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Name: U.S. v. Rodriguez
Case #: 07-10217
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/10/2008

Prior to obtaining an unambiguous and unequivocal waiver of Miranda rights, the interrogating officer has a duty to clarify any ambiguity before beginning general interrogation. After appellant was advised of his Miranda rights and indicated he understood them, the officer asked him if appellant wanted to speak with him. Appellant responded, “I’m good for tonight.” The officer did not immediately begin interrogation; instead, a “short time later,” a second officer began questioning appellant and ultimately appellant admitted possession of the prohibited weapons and silencer. The appellate court observed that here the “clear statement” rule of Davis v. U.S. (1994) 512 U.S. 452 did not apply because, unlike Davis, there had been no unambiguous knowing and voluntary waiver of Miranda rights before the questioning began. In the Davis situation, where there is such a waiver, law enforcement officers have met their burden and if the suspect wishes to assert his rights post waiver, he must unambiguously retract the waiver he has already given. In the context of the initial advisement and procurement of waiver, however, in order to begin questioning, law enforcement officers must first obtain a clear and unequivocal waiver. If there is any ambiguity as to whether there is a knowing waiver, the officers have a duty to clarify it before beginning questioning. (Nelson v. McCarthy (9th Cir. 1981) 637 F.2d 1291.) Accordingly, the denial of the suppression motion was reversed and the case remanded.