whether the defendant was in custody for purposes of Miranda
when he was on the train platform, where he was asked a short
series of questions by the officers. I have already found that
the defendant was subject to a Terry stop when he was asked to
step out onto the platform. I have also found that the defendant
was in custody when he was asked by the officers to accompany
them from the platform to their offices.
A person is in custody and entitled to Miranda warnings when
"a reasonable person in the suspect's shoes would not have felt
free to leave under the circumstances." United States v. Ali,
86 F.3d 275, 276 (2d Cir. 1996) (internal quotation omitted).
See also Tankleff v. Senkowski, 135 F.3d 235, 243 (2d Cir.
1998) (custody exists when a reasonable person would "`have felt
he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and
leave.'") (quoting Thompson v. Keohane, 516 U.S. 99, 112, 116
S.Ct. 457, 133 L.Ed.2d 383 (1995)). The prophylactic rule of
Miranda protects suspects from the "`inherently compelling
pressures'" on persons interrogated during "`in-custody
interrogations.'" Thompson, 516 U.S. at 107, 116 S.Ct. 457
(quoting Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467, 86 S.Ct. 1602,
16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966)). See also Tankleff, 135 F.3d at 242
(describing the "presumptively coercive environment of police
custody"). Assessment of whether custody has occurred requires a
consideration of all the circumstances surrounding the
interrogation. Thompson, 516 U.S. at 112, 116 S.Ct. 457. Where
the encounter is temporary, brief, and public, for example, it
generally does not constitute custody and Miranda warnings are
not required. See Thompson, 516 U.S. at 115, 116 S.Ct. 457
(citing Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 436-39, 104 S.Ct.
3138, 82 L.Ed.2d 317 (1984)).
The purposes underlying the Miranda rule are not implicated
in the Terry stop encounter on the platform between the
officers and Lopez. When the officers asked Lopez to step off the
train and answer a few questions, a reasonable person might very
well have anticipated an encounter that would be both temporary
and brief. It was certainly an encounter conducted in public. The
officers asked simple questions, providing Lopez an opportunity
to explain why he was carrying a knife longer than the legal
length. While there were three uniformed officers involved in the
stop, none of them had their guns drawn, raised their voices, or
made any threatening gesture. The reason for the inquiry would
have been readily apparent and would have seemed appropriate to
any reasonable person carrying an exposed knife. Only after Lopez
produced a second knife in response to the officers' questions,
did the officers ask Lopez to accompany them to their offices —
the point at which I find a reasonable person would no longer
have felt at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave.
Had I found that Lopez was in custody during this period on the
platform, I would not have accepted the Government's alternative
argument that the questions the officers asked of Lopez fell
within the pedigree exception to the Miranda doctrine.
"[S]olicitation of information concerning a person's identity and
background does not amount to custodial interrogation prohibited
by Miranda" United States v. Adegbite, 846 F.2d 834, 838 (2d
Cir. 1988). Accordingly, "pedigree information" may be solicited
before Miranda warnings are given. Id. Information provided
in response to "`routine questions . . . ordinarily innocent of
any investigative purpose'" that are asked for administrative
purposes, such as, to facilitate the booking and arraignment of
the defendant, is considered such pedigree information. United
States v. Carmona, 873 F.2d 569, 573 (2d Cir. 1989) (quoting
United States v. Gotchis, 803 F.2d 74, 79 (2d Cir. 1986)).
Pedigree information may include, for example, the suspect's
name, address, height, weight, eye color, date of birth, and age,
Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U.S. 582, 600,
110 S.Ct. 2638, 110 L.Ed.2d 528 (1990), marital status, United
States ex rel Hines v. LaVallee, 521 F.2d 1109, 1113 n. 2 (2d
Cir. 1975), and employment, United States v. Gotchis,
803 F.2d 74, 79 (2d Cir. 1986).
If questions are designed to elicit incriminating information,
however, they are not exempt from the Miranda doctrine merely
because they are asked during the booking process. Muniz, 496
U.S. at 602 n. 14, 110 S.Ct. 2638. Critical to the inquiry is
whether the officer questioning the suspect should have known
that his questioning was "reasonably likely to elicit an
incriminating response." Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291,
302, 100 S.Ct. 1682, 64 L.Ed.2d 297 (1980). Applying these
principles, routine questions about employment after an arrest on
drug charges have been permitted even though the defendant's
statement that he had been unemployed supported the inference
that he intended to sell drugs. See, e.g., Gotchis, 803 F.2d at
79. Similarly, questions regarding marital status and the number
of children were accepted as pedigree questions even though the
defendant's statements helped to identify him as a rapist.
Hines, 521 F.2d at 1113.
While it is true that the inquiry on the platform included in
effect a question about Lopez's employment, to wit, are you in
the military, I do not find that it is appropriately categorized
as an inquiry falling within the pedigree exception. The question
was not a routine question asked for administrative purposes, but
instead an investigative inquiry designed to determine whether
the suspect's conduct — carrying an exposed knife while dressed
in combat boots and military camouflage clothing — was
The motion to suppress the defendant's statements during the
interrogation on the train platform for failure to administer
Miranda warnings is denied.
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