Volunteered statements to police are admissible


Tracy Alexander was observed by a Flowood Police Department officer meeting vehicles near the property where he lived. At trial, the same officer testified that he saw Alexander hand “some type of object” into one of the vehicles. On the basis of this and information received from a confidential informant, a search warrant was obtained to search the two trailers located on the property in question. Officers then executed the search warrant and found marijuana concealed inside a cabinet above the kitchen stove.

Alexander was arrested and read his Miranda warnings. Although he was given a written Miranda warning during the booking procedure, he made incriminating statements about his involvement in the crime. During his trial, Alexander denied any knowledge of the presence of marijuana in the mobile home. Both the State and Alexander presented testimony that other individuals had access to the mobile home where the marijuana was found.

The State introduced testimony of an officer regarding a loaded handgun that was registered to Alexander and recovered from underneath a pillow in a bedroom of the trailer. The trial judge allowed the pistol to be introduced into evidence to show Alexander’s dominion and control over the mobile home where the marijuana was found.

Alexander was convicted for possession of more than one ounce but less than one kilogram of marijuana with intent to sell and sentenced to eight years. On appeal, he argued his statement should have been suppressed. MCOA affirmed.


Alexander asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement given at the station house because he invoked his right to remain silent and did not waive his right to remain silent which violated his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

This court begins its analysis of this issue by the observation that Miranda did not abolish confessions per se. In Miranda, the United States Supreme Court opined:

In dealing with statements obtained through interrogation, we do not purport to find all confessions inadmissible. Confessions remain a proper element in law enforcement. Any statement given freely and voluntarily without any compelling influences is, of course, admissible in evidence. The fundamental import of the privilege [against self-incrimination] while an individual is in custody is not whether he is allowed to talk to the police without the benefit of warnings and counsel, but whether he can be interrogated. There is no requirement that police stop a person who enters a police station and states that he wishes to confess to a crime, or a person who calls the police to offer a confession or any other statement he desires to make. Volunteered statements of any kind are not barred by the Fifth Amendment and their admissibility is not affected by our holding today.

In this case, the officers testified and the defendant agreed that Miranda warnings were given to Alexander when he was arrested. After Alexander was in custody and taken to the station house for booking, he made incriminating statements regarding his drug supplier which were unsolicited and voluntary. Alexander was not being subjected to “interrogation” even though he was “in custody.”

Alexander also voluntarily stated during the booking that he lived at the trailer. Alexander was aware of his rights at that time since he had been advised of his rights at the time of his arrest. Furthermore, he did not exercise his rights to remain silent or for an attorney. Additionally, the information about whether Alexander lived in the trailer was no more than biographical information that the booking officer would have received during routine booking procedures, and therefore, these questions are “non-interrogative” within the meaning of Miranda.

It is clear that Alexander was read his Miranda rights upon arrest and was in the process of being booked when he made his statement about where he lived. We said in Wesley v. State, 521 So. 2d 1283 (Miss. 1988), that routine questions asked in booking a suspect relating to his name, age and place of birth are not proscribed by Miranda.