Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gore: Waiver of Miranda effective upon resumption of questioning

In Gore v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 06-11522 (July 20, 2007), the Court denied habeas relief to a Florida death row inmate convicted of a 1988 murder.
Gore was first questioned by federal officials. This questioning ceased once he invoked his right to remain silent. Seven days later, questioning resumed by state officials, and Gore waived his Miranda rights. Seven hours of questioning ensued. Gore made incriminating statements during this questioning, which he then sought to suppress at trial. The Florida courts held that the statements were not obtained in violation of his rights.
On federal habeas review, the Court noted that AEDPA required it to defer to the Florida court’s determination unless it was an unreasonable application of Supreme Court caselaw. Here, Gore waived his right to silence and right to counsel before the second questioning occurred. The Court deferred to the Florida Supreme Court’s credibility determination which credited the testimony of the Florida officer who testified that Gore had not invoked his right to counsel. Further, the mere fact that counsel had been appointed in an unrelated case was not a "constructive invocation" of the right to counsel. The Court noted that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel was "offense-specific."