Person Confesses a Crime to Undercover Police Officer

Question: What happens if a person unknowingly confesses a crime to an undercover police officer?

Answer: The problem you’re going to run into with this is, I don’t think Miranda applies, because the person is not in custody and it’s not an express questioning. Now, say that the person is in a jail cell, and you put in a undercover cop as a, dressed up or posing as an inmate, and he starts questioning him, I think that would be a problem.

Because you’ve got the standards met at that point—he’s in custody, it is a government agent, and it is a questioning. But in this type of case where it’s just an undercover cop, say they’re at a hotel with a drug buy or something and he makes comments, there’s no coercion at that point. Miranda is trying to prevent any type of coercion from being in custody and being questioned. At that point you don’t have that, so I think that those statements would probably come in.

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