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Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Facts: Ds in four cases were subjected to custodial interrogation and confessed; their confessions were admitted at their trials. The police techniques may not have violated their Due Process rights because they were not so coercive as to produce “involuntary” confessions.

Issue 1: Does the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination attach to custodial interrogation at the station house?

Rule 1: (Warren, C. J.) The Fifth Amendment privilege applies during custodial interrogation and safeguards must be established to protect a person’s ability to understand and rely on the privilege in that setting. According to advice found in police interrogation manuals for persuading arrestees to talk, the atmosphere and techniques of incommunicado custodial interrogation is inherently designed to “persuade, trick, or cajole” a person “out of exercising” his or her constitutional rights.

Issue 2: What Fifth Amendment safeguards are necessary to protect a person’s ability to exercise of the privilege against self-incrimination during custodial interrogation?

Rule 2: First, a person must be informed of four rights: 1) the right to remain silent during custodial interrogation; 2) the right to know that anything that a person says to the police may be used against that person in court; 3) the right to know that a person has the right to consult with counsel; 4) the right to know that if the person cannot afford counsel, a lawyer will be appointed for him or her. Second, before interrogation of a person in custody occurs, the police must obtain a voluntary, knowing and intelligent waiver of the rights described in the “Miranda warnings.” Third, if the person invokes the right to remain silent, or the right to consult counsel, or both, the police have a duty to cut off questioning; either or both of these invocations must be honored in this way, whether the invocation occur before waiver or after waiver and incriminating statements are obtained. These safeguards are necessary because all custodial interrogation creates the potential for “compulsion” to incriminate oneself that is prohibited by the Fifth Amendment, and because the Fifth Amendment requires that confessions must be the product of free choice in order to protect human dignity.

Dissent 1: (Harlan, J.) The Court’s rules will impair the law enforcement tool of police interrogation; even though interrogation may be inconvenient and unpleasant, “society has always paid a stiff price for law and order.” To require waiver will “heavily handicap questioning” and to mention the right to counsel “simply invites the end of the interrogation.”

Dissent 2: (White, J.) For all practical purposes, the Court forbids interrogation in the absence of counsel. The decision leaves open such questions as the meaning of custody and effective waiver, which undefined concepts will lead to uncertainty and continued litigation.

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