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CALIFORNIA v. PRYSOCK

decided: June 29, 1981.

CALIFORNIA
v.
PRYSOCK



ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 453 U.S. Page 355]

This case presents the question whether the warnings given to respondent prior to a recorded conversation with a police officer satisfied the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Although ordinarily this Court would not be inclined to review a case involving application of that precedent to a particular set of facts, see Fare v. Michael C., 439 U.S. 1310, 1314 (1978) (REHNQUIST, J., in chambers, opinion of Court at 442 U.S. 707 (1979)), the opinion of the California Court of Appeal essentially laid down a flat rule requiring that the content of Miranda warnings be a virtual incantation of the precise language contained in the Miranda opinion. Because such a rigid rule was not mandated by Miranda or any other decision of this Court, and is not required to serve the purposes of Miranda, we grant the motion

[ 453 U.S. Page 356]

     of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for certiorari and reverse.

On January 30, 1978, Mrs. Donna Iris Erickson was brutally murdered. Later that evening respondent and a co-defendant were apprehended for commission of the offense. Respondent was brought to a substation of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department and advised of his Miranda rights. He declined to talk and, since he was a minor, his parents were notified. Respondent's parents arrived and after meeting with them respondent decided to answer police questions. An officer questioned respondent, on tape, with respondent's parents present. The tape reflects that the following warnings were given prior to any questioning:

 "Sgt. Byrd: . . . Mr. Randall James Prysock, earlier today I advised you of your legal rights and at that time you advised me you did not wish to talk to me, is that correct?

"Randall P.: Yeh.

"Sgt. Byrd: And, uh, during, at the first interview your folks were not present, they are now present. I want to go through your legal rights again with you and after each legal right I would like for you to answer whether you understand it or not. . . . Your legal rights, Mr. Prysock, is [sic] follows: Number One, you have the right to remain silent. This means you don't have to talk to me at all unless you so desire. Do you understand this?

"Randall P.: Yeh.

"Sgt. Byrd: If you give up your right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used as evidence against you in a court of law. Do you understand this?

"Randall P.: Yes.

"Sgt. Byrd: You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you are questioned, have him present with you while you are being questioned, and all during the questioning. Do you understand this?

[ 453 U.S. Page 357]

     "Randall P.: Yes.

"Sgt. Byrd: You also, being a juvenile, you have the right to have your parents present, which they are. Do you understand this?

"Randall P.: Yes.

"Sgt. Byrd: Even if they weren't here, you'd have this right. Do ...


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