Supreme Court Cases

Supreme Court Cases
on Self Incrimination
Sarah Claypoole
Topic: No Self Incrimination
“Giving testimony in a trial or other legal
proceeding that could subject one to criminal
First established in modern courts with
Lefkowitz v. Turley (1973): “"privileges him
not to answer official questions put to him in
any other proceeding, civil or criminal, formal
or informal, where the answers might
incriminate him in future criminal
Miranda v. Arizona: Background
Ernesto Miranda was charged with rape,
kidnapping, and robbery. He wasn’t informed
of his rights before interrogation, and during
said interrogation, he confessed on record.
He dropped out at age fourteen and had a
history of mental problems, but nonetheless
received 20 to 30 years in prison. He
appealed, claiming the confession was
received unconstitutionally.
Miranda v. Arizona: Decision
The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the
decision. Even the US Supreme Court was
close—5 to 4.
Majority opinion from Warren.
Ruled that the confession wasn’t valid
evidence, as Miranda wasn’t first informed of
his rights to an attorney and against self
Decision Continued
It’s in accordance with the Fifth Amendment:
right to refuse “to be a witness against
himself,” and Sixth, guaranteeing the right to
an attorney.
Famous line: giving suspect Miranda rights in
an effort to “dispel the compulsion inherent in
custodial surroundings.”
Miranda v. Arizona: Consequences
MIRANDA RIGHTS (what they read to
suspects on CSI, etc): “You have the right to
remain silent…”
Furthered precedent of siding with the
suspect, increasing citizen’s rights, typical of
Warren SC.
Dickerson v. US (2000): Background
Dickerson was arrested for bank robbery,
conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and
using a firearm in the course of committing a
crime of violence.
Before trial, he tried to suppress a previous
statement to the FBI, one he said he made
before hearing his Miranda rights.
The initial court allowed the suppression, so
the government appealed.
Mainly reaffirmed Miranda rights.
Argues there are two tests to determine
legitimacy of confession: old-fashioned
“voluntary” and more complex “due process”
Due process: accounts for “the totality of all
the surrounding circumstances–both the
characteristics of the accused and the details
of the interrogation,” and modern
circumstances make coercion a bigger
Congress had passed a bill that basically
overruled Miranda rights; Dickerson says that
SC and Miranda work above Congress, as
it’s the SC’s job to worry about courts and it
just enforces a part of the Constitution that is
otherwise murky territory.
Specifically reaffirms all four Miranda rights:
suspect “has the right to remain silent, that
anything he says can be used against him in
a court of law, that he has the right to the
presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot
afford an attorney one will be appointed for
him prior to any questioning if he so desires.”
Made the point that SC would work to uphold
Miranda Rights.