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QUESTION PRESENTED Was our client Pam Hodges in custody when the police officer questioned her in the squad car, therefore making her statements to the police inadmissible as evidence? BRIEF ANSWER Probably no. Pam Hodges was likely not in custody when the police officer questioned her in the squad car. Therefore, the police officer had no obligation to inform her of any rights against selfincrimination, and her statements will likely be admissible as evidence. FACTS Our client Pam Hodges was hosting her sister, Pauline, who was on a leave of absence from her job in China. Pauline had brought back with her a box of counterfeit DVDs, which she was keeping in her room. The FBI received a tip that Pam intended to sell these DVDs and sent agents along with a local police officer to her home to investigate. The officer witnessed Pam, who at the time was unaware of this law enforcement presence, running out of the back door of the house and followed her in his marked squad car. After stopping her, he asked her to sit in the back seat of his squad car and began to question her about counterfeit DVDs. Although Pam knew that the box belonged to her sister, she claimed that a co-worker had given her a box of DVDs but that she knew nothing about them. She further explained that she had not opened the box. The FBI has referred the case to the state prosecutors office, which has filed charges against Pam for possession of counterfeit DVDs.

DISCUSSION At issue in this case is whether our client was in police custody when the police officer questioned her in the squad car and whether the statements she made during that time are admissible. A custodial interrogation is the questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. People v. Jordan, 2011 IL App (4th) 100629, 16, 960 N.E.2d 1253, 1257 (citing Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)). There are several factors in determining whether an interrogation is custodial, including: (1) the time and place of the confrontation; (2) the number of police officers present; (3) the presence or absence of family or friends; (4) any indicia of a formal arrest procedure, such as physical restraint, the show of weapons or force, booking or fingerprinting; and (5) the manner by which the individual arrived at the place of the interrogation. Jordan at 18, 960 N.E.2d at 1257 (citing People v. Melock, 149 Ill. 2d 423, 440). In Jordan, the court was asked to determine if Defendant was in custody at the time of her interrogation. Defendant, who was a passenger in a car driven by a parolee, was being searched for evidence of controlled substances. During the interrogation, she was locked in the back of a police car for almost one half hour, she was separated from her friend the parolee, there were twice as many cops as there were suspects, and Defendant was threatened with a search by police dog. Because of these circumstances, the court ruled that Defendant was held in custody. Jordan at 2123, 960 N.E.2d at 1258-59. In the present case, our client voluntarily got into the squad car and offered up unsolicited information about a box of DVDs. Additionally, there is no indication that there was more than one police officer or that she was physically restrained in any way (for example, with locked doors or handcuffs). Therefore, it is likely that the court would not find her to have been in police custody.

Any statements a suspect makes during a custodial interrogation are inadmissible except if the suspect has been made aware of her rights against self-incrimination. People v. Wright, 2011 IL App (4th) 100047, 26, 960 N.E.2d 56, 61 (citing Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444). If the interrogation is not custodial in nature, then the investigating officer has no duty to inform a suspect of her rights. Id. at 33, 960 N.E.2d at 62. In Wright, Defendant was observed driving by a police officer. The officer knew that Defendant had a revoked license and followed him. After initially losing sight of him, he found him at the home of a friend and asked him to come outside. Defendant went with the officer and made an unsolicited admission that he had been drinking and driving. He also got into the back of the squad car voluntarily. The police officer never placed him in cuffs or otherwise restrained him. The court ruled that he was not in custody and that the police officer therefore had no obligation to inform of his Miranda rights. Id. at 39, 960 N.E.2d at 64. In the present case, because it is likely our client was not in custody, it is therefore unlikely the court will find that her statements to the officer can be excluded. CONCLUSION Based on the currently available facts, the court will probably find that our client was not in custody. An interrogation is custodial only if the suspect has been deprived of their freedom of action in any significant way. Our client voluntarily got into the squad car with one police officer and offered up information about a box of DVDs in her home. However, more information about the nature of our clients interrogation, such as the length of the interrogation, whether our client was locked or handcuffed in the police car, and if there were any other officers were present, could lead to a different conclusion.