Miranda requires police to warn a suspect before conducting a custodial interrogation.  Pirtle requires similar legal warnings before an individual who is in custody can consent to a search. Pirtle is specific to Indiana. Most people are familiar with Miranda warnings, but Pirtle warnings are often overlooked, by both police officers and attorneys.

Pirtle holds that “a person who is asked to give consent to search while in police custody is entitled to the presence and advice of counsel prior to making the decision whether to give such consent.”

Case Law

– Δ was arrested for possession of a stolen car. Δ was placed in the back seat of   An officer entered the car to look for the owner’s registration and saw the handle of a gun. Another officer removed the gun. Δ was taken to a police station and interrogated. Δ later signed a waiver allowing a search of his apartment. During a search of the apartment, officers found the wallet of a victim of a homicide. Officers also met two men who confessed that they assisted Δ in the homicide. Δ was charged with and convicted of murder. Δ appealed, arguing that the search of the car and the search of his apartment should have been suppressed.  “We hold that a person who is asked to give consent to search while in police custody is entitled to the presence and advice of counsel prior to making the decision whether to give such consent. This right, of course, may be waived, but the burden will be upon the State to show that such waiver was explicit, and, as in Miranda, the State will be required to show that the waiver was not occasioned by defendant’s lack of funds.”  Any evidence found as a result of a Pirtle violation must also be suppressed as “poisoned fruit.” Pirtle v. State, 323 N.E.2d 634 (Ind. 1975).


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