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Miranda v. Arizona

In Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court decided that the prosecution in a criminal case may not use incriminating statements resulting from questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody (arrested) or otherwise deprived of freedom of action in any significant way (functional equivalent to arrest), unless it is established the use of procedural safeguards (Miranda warning and waiver) effective to secure the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination have been made.

Justice Harlan's Dissenting Opinion

HARLAN, J., dissenting


I believe the decision of the Court represents poor constitutional law and entails harmful consequences for the country at large. How serious these consequences may prove to be, only time can tell. But the basic flaws in the Court's justification seem to me readily apparent now, once all sides of the problem are considered.


At the outset, it is well to note exactly what is required by the Court's new constitutional code of rules for confessions. The foremost requirement, upon which later admissibility of a confession depends, is that a four-fold warning be given to a person in custody before he is questioned, namely, that he has a right to remain silent, that anything he says may be used against him, that he has a right to have present an attorney during the questioning, and that, if indigent he has a right to a lawyer without charge. To forgo these rights, some affirmative statement of rejection is seemingly required, and threats, tricks, or cajolings to obtain this waiver are forbidden. If, before or during questioning, the suspect seeks to invoke his right to remain silent, interrogation must be forgone or cease; a request for counsel [384 U.S. 505] brings about the same result until a lawyer is procured. Finally, there are a miscellany of minor directives, for example, the burden of proof of waiver is on the State, admissions and exculpatory statements are treated just like confessions, withdrawal of a waiver is always permitted, and so forth.

While the fine points of this scheme are far less clear than the Court admits, the tenor is quite apparent. The new rules are not designed to guard against police brutality or other unmistakably banned forms of coercion. Those who use third-degree tactics and deny them in court are equally able and destined to lie as skillfully about warnings and waivers. Rather, the thrust of the new rules is to negate all pressures, to reinforce the nervous or ignorant suspect, and ultimately to discourage any confession at all. The aim, in short, is toward "voluntariness" in a utopian sense, or, to view it from a different angle, voluntariness with a vengeance.

To incorporate this notion into the Constitution requires a strained reading of history and precedent and a disregard of the very pragmatic concerns that alone may on occasion justify such strains. I believe that reasoned examination will show that the Due Process Clauses provide an adequate tool for coping with confessions ,and that, even if the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination be invoked, its precedents, taken as a whole, do not sustain the present rules. Viewed as a choice based on pure policy, these new rules prove to be a highly debatable, if not one-sided, appraisal of the competing interests, imposed over widespread objection, at the very time when judicial restraint is most called for by the circumstances. [384 U.S. 506]


It is most fitting to begin an inquiry into the constitutional precedents by surveying the limits on confessions the Court has evolved under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This is so because these cases show that there exists a workable and effective means of dealing with confessions in a judicial manner; because the cases are the baseline from which the Court now departs, and so serve to measure the actual, as opposed to the professed, distance it travels, and because examination of them helps reveal how the Court has coasted into its present position.

The earliest confession cases in this Court emerged from federal prosecutions, and were settled on a nonconstitutional basis, the Court adopting the common law rule that the absence of inducements, promises, and threats made a confession voluntary and admissible. GO>Hopt v. Utah, 110 U.S. 574; GO>Pierce v. United States, 160 U.S. 355. While a later case said the Fifth Amendment privilege controlled admissibility, this proposition was not itself developed in subsequent decisions. The Court did, however, heighten the test of admissibility in federal trials to one of voluntariness "in fact," GO>Wan v. [384 U.S. 507] United States, 266 U.S. 1, GO>14 (quoted, ante p. GO>462), and then, by and large, left federal judges to apply the same standards the Court began to derive in a string of state court cases.

This new line of decisions, testing admissibility by the Due Process Clause, began in 1936 with GO>Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278, and must now embrace somewhat more than 30 full opinions of the Court. While the voluntariness rubric was repeated in many instances, e.g., GO>Lyons v. Oklahoma, 322 U.S. 596, the Court never pinned it down to a single meaning, but, on the contrary, infused it with a number of different values. To travel quickly over the main themes, there was an initial emphasis on reliability, e.g., GO>Ward v. Texas, 316 U.S. 547, supplemented by concern over the legality and fairness of the police practices, e.g., GO>Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143, in an "accusatorial" system of law enforcement, GO>Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, GO>54, and eventually by close attention to the individual's state of mind and capacity for effective choice, e.g., GO>Gallegos v. Colorado, 370 U.S. 49. The outcome was a continuing reevaluation on the facts of each case of how much pressure on the suspect was permissible. [384 U.S. 508]

Among the criteria often taken into account were threats or imminent danger, e.g., GO>Payne v. Arkansas, 356 U.S. 560, physical deprivations such as lack of sleep or food, e.g., GO>Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S. 433, repeated or extended interrogation, e.g., GO>Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, limits on access to counsel or friends, GO>Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433; GO>Cicenia v. Lagay, 357 U.S. 504, length and illegality of detention under state law, e.g., GO>Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, and individual weakness or incapacities, GO>Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528. Apart from direct physical coercion, however, no single default or fixed combination of defaults guaranteed exclusion, and synopses of the cases would serve little use, because the overall gauge has been steadily changing, usually in the direction of restricting admissibility. But to mark just what point had been reached before the Court jumped the rails in GO>Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, it is worth capsulizing the then-recent case of GO>Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503. There, Haynes had been held some 16 or more hours in violation of state law before signing the disputed confession, had received no warnings of any kind, and, despite requests, had been refused access to his wife or to counsel, the police indicating that access would be allowed after a confession. Emphasizing especially this last inducement and rejecting some contrary indicia of voluntariness, the Court in a 5-to-4 decision, held the confession inadmissible.

There are several relevant lessons to be drawn from this constitutional history. The first is that, with over 25 years of precedent, the Court has developed an elaborate, sophisticated, and sensitive approach to admissibility of confessions. It is "judicial" in its treatment of one case at a time, see GO>Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, GO>635 (concurring opinion of THE CHIEF JUSTICE), flexible in its ability to respond to the endless mutations of fact presented, and ever more familiar to the lower courts. [384 U.S. 509] Of course, strict certainty is not obtained in this developing process, but this is often so with constitutional principles, and disagreement is usually confined to that borderland of close cases where it matters least.

The second point is that, in practice and, from time to time, in principle, the Court has given ample recognition to society's interest in suspect questioning as an instrument of law enforcement. Cases countenancing quite significant pressures can be cited without difficulty, and the lower courts may often have been yet more tolerant. Of course, the limitations imposed today were rejected by necessary implication in case after case, the right to warnings having been explicitly rebuffed in this Court many years ago. GO>Powers v. United States, 223 U.S. 303; GO>Wilson v. United States, 162 U.S. 613. As recently as GO>Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, GO>515, the Court openly acknowledged that questioning of witnesses and suspects "is undoubtedly an essential tool in effective law enforcement." Accord, GO>Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, GO>441.

Finally, the cases disclose that the language in many of the opinions overstates the actual course of decision. It has been said, for example, that an admissible confession must be made by the suspect "in the unfettered exercise of his own will," GO>Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, GO>8, and that "a prisoner is not `to be made the deluded instrument of his own conviction,'" GO>Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, GO>581 (Frankfurter, J., announcing the Court's judgment and an opinion). Though often repeated, such principles are rarely observed in full measure. Even the word "voluntary" may be deemed some [384 U.S. 510] what misleading, especially when one considers many of the confessions that have been brought under its umbrella. See, e.g., supra, GO>n. 5. The tendency to overstate may be laid in part to the flagrant facts often before the Court; but, in any event, one must recognize how it has tempered attitudes and lent some color of authority to the approach now taken by the Court.

I turn now to the Court's asserted reliance on the Fifth Amendment, an approach which I frankly regard as a tromp l'oeil. The Court's opinion, in my view, reveals no adequate basis for extending the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination to the police station. Far more important, it fails to show that the Court's new rules are well supported, let alone compelled, by Fifth Amendment precedents. Instead, the new rules actually derive from quotation and analogy drawn from precedents under the Sixth Amendment, which should properly have no bearing on police interrogation.

The Court's opening contention, that the Fifth Amendment governs police station confessions, is perhaps not an impermissible extension of the law but it has little to commend itself in the present circumstances. Historically, the privilege against self-incrimination did not bear at all on the use of extra-legal confessions, for which distinct standards evolved; indeed,

the history of the two principles is wide apart, differing by one hundred years in origin, and derived through separate lines of precedents. . . .

8 Wigmore, Evidence § 2266, at 401 (McNaughton rev.1961). Practice under the two doctrines has also differed in a number of important respects. [384 U.S. 511] Even those who would readily enlarge the privilege must concede some linguistic difficulties, since the Fifth Amendment, in terms, proscribes only compelling any person "in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Cf. Kamisar, Equal Justice in the Gatehouses and Mansions of American Criminal Procedure, in Criminal Justice in Our Time 1, 25-26 (1965).

Though weighty, I do not say these points and similar ones are conclusive, for, as the Court reiterates, the privilege embodies basic principles always capable of expansion. Certainly the privilege does represent a protective concern for the accused and an emphasis upon accusatorial, rather than inquisitorial, values in law enforcement, although this is similarly true of other limitations such as the grand jury requirement and the reasonable doubt standard. Accusatorial values, however, have openly been absorbed into the due process standard governing confessions; this, indeed, is why, at present, "the kinship of the two rules [governing confessions and self-incrimination] is too apparent for denial." McCormick, Evidence 155 (1954). Since extension of the general principle has already occurred, to insist that the privilege applies as such serves only to carry over inapposite historical details and engaging rhetoric and to obscure the policy choices to be made in regulating confessions.

Having decided that the Fifth Amendment privilege does apply in the police station, the Court reveals that the privilege imposes more exacting restrictions than does the Fourteenth Amendment's voluntariness test. [384 U.S. 512] It then emerges from a discussion of Escobedo that the Fifth Amendment requires, for an admissible confession, that it be given by one distinctly aware of his right not to speak and shielded from "the compelling atmosphere" of interrogation. See ante pp. GO>465-466. From these key premises, the Court finally develops the safeguards of warning, counsel, and so forth. I do not believe these premises are sustained by precedents under the Fifth Amendment.

The more important premise is that pressure on the suspect must be eliminated, though it be only the subtle influence of the atmosphere and surroundings. The Fifth Amendment, however, has never been thought to forbid all pressure to incriminate one's self in the situations covered by it. On the contrary, it has been held that failure to incriminate one's self can result in denial of removal of one's case from state to federal court, GO>Maryland v. Soper, 270 U.S. 9; in refusal of a military commission, GO>Orloff v. Willoughby, 345 U.S. 83; in denial of a discharge in bankruptcy, Kaufman v. Hurwitz, 176 F.2d 210, and in numerous other adverse consequences. See 8 Wigmore, Evidence § 2272, at 441-444, n. 18 (McNaughton rev.1961); Maguire, Evidence of Guilt § 2.062 (1959). This is not to say that, short of jail or torture, any sanction is permissible in any case; policy and history alike may impose sharp limits. See, e.g., [384 U.S. 513] GO>Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609. However, the Court's unspoken assumption that any pressure violates the privilege is not supported by the precedents, and it has failed to show why the Fifth Amendment prohibits that relatively mild pressure the Due Process Clause permits.

The Court appears similarly wrong in thinking that precise knowledge of one's rights is a settled prerequisite under the Fifth Amendment to the loss of its protections. A number of lower federal court cases have held that grand jury witnesses need not always be warned of their privilege, e.g., United States v. Scully, 225 F.2d 113, 116, and Wigmore states this to be the better rule for trial witnesses. See 8 Wigmore, Evidence § 2269 (McNaughton rev.1961). Cf. GO>Henry v. Mississippi, 379 U.S. 443, GO>451-452 (waiver of constitutional rights by counsel despite defendant's ignorance held allowable). No Fifth Amendment precedent is cited for the Court's contrary view. There might, of course, be reasons apart from Fifth Amendment precedent for requiring warning or any other safeguard on questioning, but that is a different matter entirely. See infra pp. GO>516-517.

A closing word must be said about the Assistance of Counsel Clause of the Sixth Amendment, which is never expressly relied on by the Court, but whose judicial precedents turn out to be linchpins of the confession rules announced today. To support its requirement of a knowing and intelligent waiver, the Court cites GO>Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, ante p. GO>475; appointment of counsel for the indigent suspect is tied to GO>Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, and GO>Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353, ante p. GO>473; the silent-record doctrine is borrowed from GO>Carnley v. Cochran, 369 U.S. 506, ante p. GO>475, as is the right to an express offer of counsel, ante p. GO>471. All these cases imparting glosses to the Sixth Amendment concerned counsel at trial or on appeal. While the Court finds no pertinent difference between judicial proceedings and police interrogation, I believe [384 U.S. 514] the differences are so vast as to disqualify wholly the Sixth Amendment precedents as suitable analogies in the present cases.

The only attempt in this Court to carry the right to counsel into the stationhouse occurred in Escobedo, the Court repeating several times that that stage was no less "critical" than trial itself. See 378 U.S. GO>485-488. This is hardly persuasive when we consider that a grand jury inquiry, the filing of a certiorari petition, and certainly the purchase of narcotics by an undercover agent from a prospective defendant may all be equally "critical," yet provision of counsel and advice on that score have never been thought compelled by the Constitution in such cases. The sound reason why this right is so freely extended for a criminal trial is the severe injustice risked by confronting an untrained defendant with a range of technical points of law, evidence, and tactics familiar to the prosecutor, but not to himself. This danger shrinks markedly in the police station, where, indeed, the lawyer, in fulfilling his professional responsibilities, of necessity may become an obstacle to truthfinding. See infra, GO>n. 12. The Court's summary citation of the Sixth Amendment cases here seems to me best described as

the domino method of constitutional adjudication . . . , wherein every explanatory statement in a previous opinion is made the basis for extension to a wholly different situation.

Friendly, supra, n. 10, at 950.


Examined as an expression of public policy, the Court's new regime proves so dubious that there can be no due [384 U.S. 515] compensation for its weakness in constitutional law. The foregoing discussion has shown, I think, how mistaken is the Court in implying that the Constitution has struck the balance in favor of the approach the Court takes. Ante, p. GO>479. Rather, precedent reveals that the Fourteenth Amendment, in practice, has been construed to strike a different balance, that the Fifth Amendment gives the Court little solid support in this context, and that the Sixth Amendment should have no bearing at all. Legal history has been stretched before to satisfy deep needs of society. In this instance, however, the Court has not and cannot make the powerful showing that its new rules are plainly desirable in the context of our society, something which is surely demanded before those rules are engrafted onto the Constitution and imposed on every State and county in the land.

Without at all subscribing to the generally black picture of police conduct painted by the Court, I think it must be frankly recognized at the outset that police questioning allowable under due process precedents may inherently entail some pressure on the suspect, and may seek advantage in his ignorance or weaknesses. The atmosphere and questioning techniques, proper and fair though they be, can, in themselves, exert a tug on the suspect to confess, and, in this light,

[t]o speak of any confessions of crime made after arrest as being "voluntary" or "uncoerced" is somewhat inaccurate, although traditional. A confession is wholly and incontestably voluntary only if a guilty person gives himself up to the law and becomes his own accuser.

Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143, 161 (Jackson, J., dissenting). Until today, the role of the Constitution has been only to sift out undue pressure, not to assure spontaneous confessions. [384 U.S. 516]

The Court's new rules aim to offset these minor pressures and disadvantages intrinsic to any kind of police interrogation. The rules do not serve due process interests in preventing blatant coercion, since, as I noted earlier, they do nothing to contain the policeman who is prepared to lie from the start. The rules work for reliability in confessions almost only in the Pickwickian sense that they can prevent some from being given at all. In short, the benefit of this new regime is simply to lessen or wipe out the inherent compulsion and inequalities to which the Court devotes some nine pages of description. Ante, pp. GO>448-456.

What the Court largely ignores is that its rules impair, if they will not eventually serve wholly to frustrate, an instrument of law enforcement that has long and quite reasonably been thought worth the price paid for it. There can be little doubt that the Court's new code would markedly decrease the number of confessions. To warn the suspect that he may remain silent and remind him that his confession may be used in court are minor obstructions. To require also an express waiver by the suspect and an end to questioning whenever he demurs [384 U.S. 517] must heavily handicap questioning. And to suggest or provide counsel for the suspect simply invites the end of the interrogation. See supra, n. 12.

How much harm this decision will inflict on law enforcement cannot fairly be predicted with accuracy. Evidence on the role of confessions is notoriously incomplete, see Developments, supra, GO>n. 2, at 941-944, and little is added by the Court's reference to the FBI experience and the resources believed wasted in interrogation. See infra, GO>n.19, and text. We do know that some crimes cannot be solved without confessions, that ample expert testimony attests to their importance in crime control, and that the Court is taking a real risk with society's welfare in imposing its new regime on the country. The social costs of crime are too great to call the new rules anything but a hazardous experimentation.

While passing over the costs and risks of its experiment, the Court portrays the evils of normal police questioning in terms which I think are exaggerated. Albeit stringently confined by the due process standards, interrogation is no doubt often inconvenient and unpleasant for the suspect. However, it is no less so for a man to be arrested and jailed, to have his house searched, or to stand trial in court, yet all this may properly happen to the most innocent, given probable cause, a warrant, or an indictment. Society has always paid a stiff price for law and order, and peaceful interrogation is not one of the dark moments of the law.

This brief statement of the competing considerations seems to me ample proof that the Court's preference is highly debatable, at best, and therefore not to be read into [384 U.S. 518] the Constitution. However, it may make the analysis more graphic to consider the actual facts of one of the four cases reversed by the Court. Miranda v. Arizona serves best, being neither the hardest nor easiest of the four under the Court's standards.

On March 3, 1963, an 18-year-old girl was kidnapped and forcibly raped near Phoenix, Arizona. Ten days later, on the morning of March 13, petitioner Miranda was arrested and taken to the police station. At this time, Miranda was 23 years old, indigent, and educated to the extent of completing half the ninth grade. He had "an emotional illness" of the schizophrenic type, according to the doctor who eventually examined him; the doctor's report also stated that Miranda was "alert and oriented as to time, place, and person," intelligent within normal limits, competent to stand trial, and sane within the legal definition. At the police station, the victim picked Miranda out of a lineup, and two officers then took him into a separate room to interrogate him, starting about 11:30 a.m. Though at first denying his guilt, within a short time, Miranda gave a detailed oral confession, and then wrote out in his own hand and signed a brief statement admitting and describing the crime. All this was accomplished in two hours or less, without any force, threats or promises, and -- I will assume this, though the record is uncertain, ante GO>491-492 and nn GO>66-67 -- without any effective warnings at all.

Miranda's oral and written confessions are now held inadmissible under the Court's new rules. One is entitled to feel astonished that the Constitution can be read to produce this result. These confessions were obtained [384 U.S. 519] during brief daytime questioning conducted by two officers and unmarked by any of the traditional indicia of coercion. They assured a conviction for a brutal and unsettling crime, for which the police had and quite possibly could obtain little evidence other than the victim's identifications, evidence which is frequently unreliable. There was, in sum, a legitimate purpose, no perceptible unfairness, and certainly little risk of injustice in the interrogation. Yet the resulting confessions, and the responsible course of police practice they represent, are to be sacrificed to the Court's own finespun conception of fairness, which I seriously doubt is shared by many thinking citizens in this country.

The tenor of judicial opinion also falls well short of supporting the Court's new approach. Although Escobedo has widely been interpreted as an open invitation to lower courts to rewrite the law of confessions, a significant heavy majority of the state and federal decisions in point have sought quite narrow interpretations. Of [384 U.S. 520] the courts that have accepted the invitation, it is hard to know how many have felt compelled by their best guess as to this Court's likely construction; but none of the state decisions saw fit to rely on the state privilege against self-incrimination, and no decision at all has gone as far as this Court goes today.

It is also instructive to compare the attitude in this case of those responsible for law enforcement with the official views that existed when the Court undertook three major revisions of prosecutorial practice prior to this case, GO>Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, GO>Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, and GO>Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335. In Johnson, which established that appointed counsel must be offered the indigent in federal criminal trials, the Federal Government all but conceded the basic issue, which had, in fact, been recently fixed as Department of Justice policy. See Beaney, Right to Counsel 29-30, 342 (1955). In Mapp, which imposed the exclusionary rule on the States for Fourth Amendment violations, more than half of the States had themselves already adopted some such rule. See 367 U.S. at GO>651. In Gideon, which extended Johnson v. Zerbst to the States, an amicus brief was filed by 22 States and Commonwealths urging that course; only two States besides that of the respondent came forward to protest. See 372 U.S. at GO>345. By contrast, in this case, new restrictions on police [384 U.S. 521] questioning have been opposed by the United States and in an amicus brief signed by 27 States and Commonwealths, not including the three other States which are parties. No State in the country has urged this Court to impose the newly announced rules, nor has any State chosen to go nearly so far on its own.

The Court, in closing its general discussion, invokes the practice in federal and foreign jurisdictions as lending weight to its new curbs on confessions for all the States. A brief resume will suffice to show that none of these jurisdictions has struck so one-sided a balance as the Court does today. Heaviest reliance is placed on the FBI practice. Differing circumstances may make this comparison quite untrustworthy, but, in any event, the FBI falls sensibly short of the Court's formalistic rules. For example, there is no indication that FBI agents must obtain an affirmative "waiver" before they pursue their questioning. Nor is it clear that one invoking his right to silence may not be prevailed upon to change his mind. And the warning as to appointed counsel apparently indicates only that one will be assigned by the judge when the suspect appears before him; the thrust of the Court's rules is to induce the suspect to obtain appointed counsel before continuing the interview. See ante pp. GO>484-486. Apparently, American military practice, briefly mentioned by the Court, has these same limits, and is still less favorable to the suspect than the FBI warning, making no mention of appointed counsel. Developments, supra, GO>n. 2, at 1084-1089.

The law of the foreign countries described by the Court also reflects a more moderate conception of the rights of [384 U.S. 522] the accused as against those of society when other data are considered. Concededly, the English experience is most relevant. In that country, a caution as to silence, but not counsel, has long been mandated by the "Judges' Rules," which also place other somewhat imprecise limits on police cross-examination of suspects. However, in the court's discretion, confessions can be, and apparently quite frequently are, admitted in evidence despite disregard of the Judges' Rules, so long as they are found voluntary under the common law test. Moreover, the check that exists on the use of pretrial statements is counterbalanced by the evident admissibility of fruits of an illegal confession and by the judge's often-used authority to comment adversely on the defendant's failure to testify. India, Ceylon and Scotland are the other examples chosen by the Court. In India and Ceylon, the general ban on police-adduced confessions cited by the Court is subject to a major exception: if evidence is uncovered by police questioning, it is fully admissible at trial along with the confession itself, so far as it relates to the evidence and is not blatantly coerced. See Developments, supra, GO>n. 2, at 1106-1110; Reg. v. Ramasamy [1965] A.C. 1 (P.C.). Scotland's limits on interrogation do measure up to the Court's; however, restrained comment at trial on the defendant's failure to take the stand is allowed the judge, and, in many other respects, Scotch law redresses the prosecutor's disadvantage in ways not permitted in this country. The Court ends its survey by imputing [384 U.S. 523] added strength to our privilege against self-incrimination since, by contrast to other countries, it is embodied in a written Constitution. Considering the liberties the Court has today taken with constitutional history and precedent, few will find this emphasis persuasive.

In closing this necessarily truncated discussion of policy considerations attending the new confession rules, some reference must be made to their ironic untimeliness. There is now in progress in this country a massive reexamination of criminal law enforcement procedures on a scale never before witnessed. Participants in this undertaking include a Special Committee of the American Bar Association, under the chairmanship of Chief Judge Lumbard of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; a distinguished study group of the American Law Institute, headed by Professors Vorenberg and Bator of the Harvard Law School, and the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, under the leadership of the Attorney General of the United States. Studies are also being conducted by the District of Columbia Crime Commission, the Georgetown Law Center, and by others equipped to do practical research. There are also signs that legislatures in some of the States may be preparing to reexamine the problem before us. [384 U.S. 524]

It is no secret that concern has been expressed lest long-range and lasting reforms be frustrated by this Court's too rapid departure from existing constitutional standards. Despite the Court's disclaimer, the practical effect of the decision made today must inevitably be to handicap seriously sound efforts at reform, not least by removing options necessary to a just compromise of competing interests. Of course, legislative reform is rarely speedy or unanimous, though this Court has been more patient in the past. But the legislative reforms, when they come, would have the vast advantage of empirical data and comprehensive study, they would allow experimentation and use of solutions not open to the courts, and they would restore the initiative in criminal law reform to those forums where it truly belongs.


All four of the cases involved here present express claims that confessions were inadmissible not because of coercion in the traditional due process sense, but solely because of lack of counsel or lack of warnings concerning counsel and silence. For the reasons stated in this opinion, I would adhere to the due process test and reject the new requirements inaugurated by the Court. On this premise, my disposition of each of these cases can be stated briefly.

In two of the three cases coming from state courts, Miranda v. Arizona (No. 759) and Vignera v. New York (No. 760), the confessions were held admissible, and no other errors worth comment are alleged by petitioners. [384 U.S. 525] I would affirm in these two cases. The other state case is California v. Stewart (No. 584), where the state supreme court held the confession inadmissible, and reversed the conviction. In that case, I would dismiss the writ of certiorari on the ground that no final judgment is before us, 28 U.S.C. 1257 (1964 ed.); putting aside the new trial open to the State in any event, the confession itself has not even been finally excluded, since the California Supreme Court left the State free to show proof of a waiver. If the merits of the decision in Stewart be reached, then I believe it should be reversed, and the case remanded so the state supreme court may pass on the other claims available to respondent.

In the federal case, Westover v. United States (No. 761), a number of issues are raised by petitioner apart from the one already dealt with in this dissent. None of these other claims appears to me tenable, nor in this context to warrant extended discussion. It is urged that the confession was also inadmissible because not voluntary, even measured by due process standards, and because federal-state cooperation brought the McNabb-Mallory rule into play under GO>Anderson v. United States, 318 U.S. 350. However, the facts alleged fall well short of coercion, in my view, and I believe the involvement of federal agents in petitioner's arrest and detention by the State too slight to invoke Anderson. I agree with the Government that the admission of the evidence now protested by petitioner was, at most, harmless error, and two final contentions -- one involving weight of the evidence and another improper prosecutor comment -- seem to me without merit. I would therefore affirm Westover's conviction.

In conclusion: nothing in the letter or the spirit of the Constitution or in the precedents squares with the heavy-handed and one-sided action that is so precipitously [384 U.S. 526] taken by the Court in the name of fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities. The foray which the Court makes today brings to mind the wise and farsighted words of Mr. Justice Jackson in GO>Douglas v. Jeannette, 319 U.S. 157, GO>181 (separate opinion):

This Court is forever adding new stories to the temples of constitutional law, and the temples have a way of collapsing when one story too many is added.


HARLAN, J., dissenting (Footnotes)

­FN 1. My discussion in this opinion is directed to the main questions decided by the Court and necessary to its decision; in ignoring some of the collateral points, I do not mean to imply agreement.

­FN 2. The case was GO>Bram v. United States, 168 U.S. 532 (quoted ante p. GO>461). Its historical premises were afterwards disproved by Wigmore, who concluded "that no assertions could be more unfounded." 3 Wigmore, Evidence § 823, at 250, n. 5 (3d ed.1940). The Court in GO>United States v. Carignan, 342 U.S. 36, GO>41, declined to choose between Bram and Wigmore, and GO>Stein v. New York, 346 U.S. 156, GO>191, n. 35, cast further doubt on Bram. There are, however, several Court opinions which assume in dicta the relevance of the Fifth Amendment privilege to confessions. GO>Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U.S. 465, GO>475; see GO>Shotwell Mfg. Co. v. United States, 371 U.S. 341, GO>347. On Bram and the federal confession cases generally, see Developments in the Law -- Confessions, 79 Harv.L.Rev. 935, 959-961 (1966).

­FN 3. Comment, 31 U.Chi.L.Rev. 313 & n. 1 (1964), states that, by the 1963 Term, 33 state coerced confession cases had been decided by this Court, apart from per curiams. GO>Spano v. New York, 360 U.S. 315, GO>321, n. 2, collects 28 cases.

­FN 4. Bator & Vorenberg, Arrest, Detention, Interrogation and the Right to Counsel, 66 Col.L.Rev. 62, 73 (1966):

In fact, the concept of involuntariness seems to be used by the courts as a shorthand to refer to practices which are repellent to civilized standards of decency or which, under the circumstances, are thought to apply a degree of pressure to an individual which unfairly impairs his capacity to make a rational choice.

See Herman, The Supreme Court and Restrictions on Police Interrogation, 25 Ohio St.L.J. 449, 452-458 (1964); Developments, supra, n. 2, at 964-984.

­FN 5. See the cases synopsized in Herman, supra, GO>n. 4, at 456, nn. 36-39. One not too distant example is GO>Stroble v. California, 343 U.S. 181, in which the suspect was kicked and threatened after his arrest, questioned a little later for two hours, and isolated from a lawyer trying to see him; the resulting confession was held admissible.

­FN 6. Among the examples given in 8 Wigmore, Evidence § 2266, at 401 (McNaughton rev.1961), are these: the privilege applies to any witness, civil or criminal, but the confession rule protects only criminal defendants; the privilege deals only with compulsion, while the confession rule may exclude statements obtained by trick or promise, and where the privilege has been nullified -- as by the English Bankruptcy Act -- the confession rule may still operate.

­FN 7. Additionally, there are precedents and even historical arguments that can be arrayed in favor of bringing extra-legal questioning within the privilege. See generally Maguire, Evidence of Guilt § 2.03, at 15-16 (1959).

­FN 8. This, of course, is implicit in the Court's introductory announcement that "[o]ur decision in GO>Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964) [extending the Fifth Amendment privilege to the States] necessitates an examination of the scope of the privilege in state cases as well." Ante, p. GO>463. It is also inconsistent with Malloy itself, in which extension of the Fifth Amendment to the States rested in part on the view that the Due Process Clause restriction on state confessions has, in recent years, been "the same standard" as that imposed in federal prosecutions assertedly by the Fifth Amendment. 378 U.S. at GO>7.

­FN 9. I lay aside Escobedo itself; it contains no reasoning or even general conclusions addressed to the Fifth Amendment, and indeed its citation in this regard seems surprising in view of Escobedo's primary reliance on the Sixth Amendment.

­FN 10. Since the Court conspicuously does not assert that the Sixth Amendment itself warrants its new police interrogation rules, there is no reason now to draw out the extremely powerful historical and precedential evidence that the Amendment will bear no such meaning. See generally Friendly, The Bill of Rights as a Code of Criminal Procedure, 53 Calif.L.Rev. 9'9, 943-948 (1965).

­FN 11. See supra, GO>n. 4, and text. Of course, the use of terms like voluntariness involves questions of law and terminology quite as much as questions of fact. See Collins v. Beto, 348 F.2d 823, 832 (concurring opinion); Bator & Vorenberg, supra, GO>n. 4, at 72-73.

­FN 12. The Court's vision of a lawyer "mitigat[ing] the dangers of untrustworthiness" (ante, p. GO>470) by witnessing coercion and assisting accuracy in the confession is largely a fancy; for if counsel arrives, there is rarely going to be a police station confession. GO>Watt v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, GO>59 (separate opinion of Jackson, J.): "[A]ny lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to police under any circumstances." See Enker & Elsen, Counsel for the Suspect, 49 Minn.L.Rev. 47, 66-68 (1964).

­FN 13. This need is, of course, what makes so misleading the Court's comparison of a probate judge readily setting aside as involuntary the will of an old lady badgered and beleaguered by the new heirs. Ante, pp. GO>457-458, n. 26. With wills, there is no public interest save in a totally free choice; with confessions, the solution of crime is a countervailing gain however the balance is resolved.

­FN 14. See, e.g., the voluminous citations to congressional committee testimony and other sources collected in GO>Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, GO>578-579 (Frankfurter, J., announcing the Court's judgment and an opinion).

­FN 15. In Westover, a seasoned criminal was practically given the Court's full complement of warnings, and did not heed them. The Stewart case, on the other hand, involves long detention and successive questioning. In Vignera, the facts are complicated, and the record somewhat incomplete.

­FN 16.

[J]ustice, though due to the accused, is due to the accuser also. The concept of fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the balance true.

GO>Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97, GO>122 (Cardozo, J.).

­FN 17. A narrow reading is given in: United States v. Robinson, 354 F.2d 109 (C.A.2d Cir.); Davis v. North Carolina, 339 F.2d 770 (C.A.4th Cir.); Edwards v. Holman, 342 F.2d 679 (C.A. 5th Cir.); United States ex rel. Townsend v. Ogilvie, 334 F.2d 837 (C.A. 7th Cir.); People v. Hartgraves, 31 Ill.2d 375, 202 N.E.2d 33; State v. Fox, ___ Iowa ___, 131 N.W.2d 684; Rowe v. Commonwealth, 394 S.W.2d 751 (Ky.); Parker v. Warden, 236 Md. 236, 203 A.2d 418; State v. Howard, 383 S.W.2d 701 (Mo.); Bean v. State, ___ Nev. ___, 398 P.2d 251; State v. Hodgson, 44 N.J. 151, 207 A.2d 542; People v. Gunner, 15 N.Y.2d 226, 205 N.E.2d 852; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Browne v. State, 24 Wis.2d 491, 131 N.W.2d 169.

An ample reading is given in: United States ex rel. Russo v. New Jersey, 351 F.2d 429 (C.A.3d Cir.); Wright v. Dickson, 336 F.2d 878 (C.A. 9th Cir.); People v. Dorado, 62 Cal.2d 338, 398 P.2d 361; State v. Dufour, ___ R.I. ___, 206 A.2d 82; State v. Neely, 239 Ore. 487, 395 P.2d 557, modified, 398 P.2d 482.

The cases in both categories are those readily available; there are certainly many others.

­FN 18. For instance, compare the requirements of the catalytic case of People v. Dorado, 62 Cal.2d 338, 398 P.2d 361, with those laid down today. See also Traynor, The Devils of Due Process in Criminal Detection, Detention, and Trial, 33 U.Chi.L.Rev. 657, 670.

­FN 19. The Court's obiter dictum notwithstanding, ante p. GO>486, there is some basis for believing that the staple of FBI criminal work differs importantly from much crime within the ken of local police. The skill and resources of the FBI may also be unusual.

­FN 20. For citations and discussion covering each of these points, see Developments, supra, GO>n. 2, at 1091-1097, and Enker & Elsen, supra, GO>n. 12, at 80 & n. 94.

­FN 21. On comment, see Hardin, Other Answers: Search and Seizure, Coerced Confession, and Criminal Trial in Scotland, 113 U.Pa.L.Rev. 165, 181 and nn. 96-97 (1964). Other examples are less stringent search and seizure rules and no automatic exclusion for violation of them, id. at 167-169; guilt based on majority jury verdicts, id. at 185, and pretrial discovery of evidence on both sides, id. at 175.

­FN 22. Of particular relevance is the ALI's drafting of a Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure, now in its first tentative draft. While the ABA and National Commission studies have wider scope, the former is lending its advice to the ALI project and the executive director of the latter is one of the reporters for the Model Code.

­FN 23. See brief for the United States in Westover, p. 45. The N.Y. Times, June 3, 1966, p. 41 (late city ed.) reported that the Ford Foundation has awarded $1,100,000 for a five-year study of arrests and confession in New York.

­FN 24. The New York Assembly recently passed a bill to require certain warnings before an admissible confession is taken, though the rules are less strict than are the Court's. N.Y. Times, May 24, 1966, p. 35 (late city ed.).

The full text of the Miranda decision is included for the reader. It is divided into following parts:

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­FN 25. The Court waited 12 years after GO>Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25, declared privacy against improper state intrusions to be constitutionally safeguarded before it concluded, in GO>Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, that adequate state remedies had not been provided to protect this interest, so the exclusionary rule was necessary.

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