Justice Goodwin Liu continues to express his concern with undercover police questioning of suspects who have invoked their Miranda right to request counsel. In a separate statement joined by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Liu dissents from the Supreme Court’s denial of review today in People v. Godbolt.
The Second District, Division Two, Court of Appeal unpublished opinion in Godbolt, a gang murder case involving incriminating statements by three co-defendants, held, “Miranda is not applicable if the questions or comments that elicited a response were propounded by an undercover agent or by a person other than a police officer or police investigator.”
Quoting from his dissenting statement in an earlier, similar case (see here), Justice Liu writes, “I . . . ‘find dubious the claim that it is lawful for the police to continue questioning a suspect who has invoked Miranda rights and remains in custody so long as the police disguise the interrogation,’ ” and he adds, “Because ‘this court has declined several opportunities to address the issue,’ I again call on ‘the Legislature to examine whether additional safeguards are necessary to restore Miranda‘s core purpose of ensuring that any statement made by a suspect to the police is “truly . . . the product of his [or her] free choice.” ’ ”
Unlike in Godbolt today, Justice Cuéllar did not join Justice Liu in dissent in the earlier case.
In 2015, Justice Liu revived a long-dormant practice of issuing separate statements upon the court’s denial of review, and he has done so on several occasions since then. (See recently here, here, and here.)