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Ohio Supreme Court Declines To Decide Miranda Issue – School Officials Are Required To Provide  Miranda Warnings In Certain Circumstances

In a long awaited decision, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in In re L.G., Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-3750 as improvidently accepted, leaving the Ohio appellate court’s decision regarding the obligation of school officials to issue Miranda warnings in place.

In this case, a young student made a bomb threat to a public middle school. After resolving the threat, an investigation was made. A suspected student was questioned by a school supervisor who was required to report his findings to the police department. The student was not made aware of his rights against self-incrimination and admitted to making the threat. The supervisor immediately reported his findings to the police and the student was charged with inducing panic. Counsel for the student filed a motion to suppress the evidence because the student was never given his Miranda rights prior to questioning by the school supervisor.

The Ohio appellate court affirmed the motion, determining that the school supervisor was an agent of the police department because he was required to report the findings of his investigation to the police. As an agent, the supervisor was required to give the student his Miranda rights prior to inquiring about any self-incriminating information. As indicated above, the Ohio Supreme Court decided not to render an opinion on the issue. Thus, the controlling law is that any school official that is required to report information to the police must provide Miranda warnings to students before investigating potentially self-incriminating information – even while at the school.

To read about this case and the Supreme Court’s decision, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling, Patrick Vrobel, and John T. Sulik, Jr.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.


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