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Michael Mickey Fradiue v. Cheryl K. Pliler et al


March 31, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge


Petitioner Michael Mickey Fradiue ("Petitioner") is a state prisoner who filed a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his 1998 state court conviction for possession of heroin. This Court denied his habeas claims, and Petitioner now requests a certificate of appealability for the denial of federal habeas relief.

Petitioner claims that his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by the unlawful admission at trial of incriminating statements he made without due warning, pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

Petitioner made the statements during an interview regarding possession of heroin while housed in Administrative Segregation ("Ad Seg") in prison, which he was relocated to after discovery of the heroin. He argues the circumstances rendered this line of questioning "custodial interrogation" for the purposes of Miranda.

A certificate of appealability may issue under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c). The certificate of appealability must "indicate which specific issue or issues satisfy" the requirement. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(3). A certificate of appealability should be granted for any issue that petitioner can demonstrate is "debatable among jurists of reason," could be resolved differently by a different court, or is "adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further." Jennings v. Woodford, 290 F.3d 1006, 1010 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 893 (1983)).*fn1

Petitioner has not made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Miranda rights are required only for individuals in custodial interrogation, and an interview in Ad Seg does not give rise to custodial interrogation.

Unlike the classic form of custodial interrogation, such as police interrogation or non-incarcerated custody detention, individuals may be escorted to Ad Seg for a number of reasons having nothing to do with the commission of a crime.*fn2 Though conditions in Ad Seg can be more restrictive than general population, they are not restricted for the purpose of an interrogation regarding the commission of a crime.

This Court recognizes that Miranda warnings are required for custodial interrogations of prisoners. Mathis v. U.S., 391 U.S. 1, 4-5 (1968). The Ninth Circuit has, however, warned against creating a "per se rule that any investigatory questioning inside a prison requires Miranda warnings" as such a rule could "totally disrupt prison administration." Cervantes v. Walker, 589 F.2d 424, 427 (9th Cir. 1978). Aside from being interviewed by an official about possession of heroin as he sat in his cell in Ad Seg, Petitioner has provided no additional facts that would establish a custodial interrogation. Thus, in order to find that Petitioner's constitutional rights were violated, a court must in essence create a per se rule that any investigatory questioning in Ad Seg is custodial interrogation for the purposes of Miranda.

Such a holding is far too broad, and inappropriate under Cervantes. Therefore, Petitioner's Application for Certificate of Appealability (ECF No. 62) is DENIED.


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