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 prosecution.” 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 proceedings.” 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 incrimination. 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. Decision 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 concern. Decision 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. Consequences 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.