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FELLERS v. UNITED STATES, 540 U.S. 519

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FELLERS v. UNITED STATES

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT

No. 02-6320. Argued December 10, 2003--Decided January 26, 2004

Police officers went to petitioner's home and advised him that they had come to discuss his involvement in drug distribution. They told him that they had a federal warrant for his arrest and that a grand jury had indicted him for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. During the course of a brief discussion, petitioner made several inculpatory statements. Once at the county jail, petitioner was advised of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, and Patterson v. Illinois, 487 U. S. 285, signed a waiver of those rights, and reiterated his earlier statements. Before trial, he moved to suppress the inculpatory statements he made at his home and at the jail. A Magistrate Judge recommended that the home statements be suppressed because the officers had not informed petitioner of his Miranda rights, and that portions of his jailhouse statements be suppressed as fruits of the prior failure to provide Miranda warnings. The District Court suppressed the unwarned home statements but admitted the jailhouse statements pursuant to Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U. S. 298, concluding that petitioner had knowingly and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights before making the statements. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the conviction, holding that petitioner's jailhouse statements were properly admitted under Elstad, and that the officers had not violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel under Patterson because they did not interrogate him at his home.

Held: The Eighth Circuit erred in holding that the absence of an "interrogation" foreclosed petitioner's claim that his jailhouse statements should have been suppressed as fruits of the statements taken from him at his home. Pp. 4-6.


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