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Historic Documents
Miranda v. Arizona - Supreme Court Ruling

                            MIRANDA v. ARIZONA

                                 No. 759.


        384 U.S. 436:  16 L. Ed. 2d. 694:  86 S. Ct. 1602: 10 Ohio
                 Misc. 9: 36 io Op. 2d 237: 10A.L.R. 3d 974

                    Argued February 28 - March 1, 1966.

                        June 13, 1966 *, Decided

        * Together with No. 760, Vignera v. New York, on certiorari to the
Court of Appeals of New York and No. 761, Westover v. United States, on
certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
both argued February 28-March 1, 1966; and No. 584, California v. Stewart,
on certiorari to the Supreme Court of California, argued February 28-March
2, 1966.

  In each of these cases the defendant while in police custody was
questioned by police officers, detectives, or a prosecuting attorney in a
room in which he was cut off from the outside world.  None of the
defendants was given a full and effective warning of his rights at the
outset of the interrogation process.  In all four cases the questioning
elicited oral admissions, and in three of them signed statements as well,
which were admitted at their trials.  All defendants were convicted and all
convictions, except in No. 584, were affirmed on appeal.

        1. The prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or
inculpatory, stemming from questioning initiated by law enforcement
officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived
of his freedom of action in any significant way, unless it demonstrates the
use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the Fifth Admendment's
privlege against self-incrimination.  Pp. 444-491.

        (a) The atmosphere and environment of incommunicado interrogation
as it exists today is inherently intimidating and works to undermine the
privilege against self-incrimination.  Unless adequate preventive measures
are taken to dispel the compulsion ingerent in custodial surroundings, no
statement obtained from the defendant can truly be the product of his free
choice.  Pp. 445-458.

        (b) The privilege against self-incrimination, which has had a long
and expansive historical development, is the essential mainstay of our
adversary system and guarantees to the individual the "right to remain
silent unless he chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own
will," during a period of custodiial interrogation as well as in the
ccourts or during the course of other official investigations.  Pp.

        (c) The decision in Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, stressed
the need for protective devices to make the process of police interrogation
conform to the dictates of the privilege. Pp. 465-466.

        (d) In the absence of other effective measures the following
procedures to safeguard the Fifth Amendment privlege must be observed:  The
person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he
has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used
against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to
consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation,
and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.
Pp. 467-473.

        (e) If the individual indicates, prior to or during questioning,
that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease: if he states
that he wants an attorney, the questioning must cease until an attorney is
present. Pp. 473-474.

        (f) Where an interrogation is conducted without the presence of an
attorney and a statement is taken, a heavy burden rests on the Government
to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his
right to counsel.  Pp. 475

        (g) Where the individual answers some questions during incustody
interrogation he has not waived his privilege and may invoke his right to
remain silent thereafter.  Pp. 475-476.

        (h) The warnings required and the waiver needed are, in the absence
of a fully effective equivalent, prerequisites to the admissibility of any
statement, inculpatory or exculpatory, made by a defendant.  Pp. 476-477.

        2. The limitations on the interrogation process required for the
protection of the individual's constitutional rights should not cause an
undue interference with a proper system of law enforcement, as demonstrated
by the procedures of the FBI and the safeguards afforded in other
jurisdictions.  Pp. 479-491.
        3. In each of these cases the statements were obtained under
circumstances that did not meet constitutional standards for protection of
the privlege against self-incrimination.  Pp. 491-499.


        98 Ariz. 18, 401 P. 2d 721; 15 N.Y. 2d 970, 207 N.E. 2d 527; 16
N.Y. 2d 614, 209 N.E. 2d 110; 342 F. 2d 684, reversed; 62 Cal. 2d 571, 400
P. 2d 97, affirmed.

        John J. Flyn argued the cause for petitioner in No. 759. With him
on the brief was John P. Frank.  Victor M. Earle III argued the cause and
filed a brief for petitioner in No. 760.  F. Conger Fawcett argued the
cause and filed brief for petitioner in No. 761.  Gordon Ringer, Deputy
Attorney General of California, argued the cause for petitioner in No. 584.
 With him on the briefs were Thomas C. Lynch, Attorney General, and William
E. James, Assistant Attorney General.
        Gary K. Nelson, Assistant Attorney General of Arizona, argued the
cause for respondent in No. 759.  With him on the brief was Darrell F.
Smith, Attorney General.  William I. Siegel argued the cause for respondent
in No. 760.  With him on the brief was Aaron E. Koota.  Solicitor General
Marshall argued the cause for the United States in No. 761.  With him on
the brief were Assistant Attorney General Vinson, Ralph S. Sparitzer,
Nathan Lewin, Beatrice Rosenberg and Ronald L. Gainer.  William A., Norris,
by appointment of the Court, 382 U.S. 952, argued the cause and filed a
brief for respondent in No. 584.
        Telford Taylor, by special leave of Court, argued the cause for the
State of New York, as amicus curiae, in all cases.  With him on the brief
were Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General of New York, Samuel A.
Hirshowitz, First Assistant Attorney General, and Barry Mahoney and George
D. Zuckerman, Assistant Attorneys General, joined by the Attorneys General
for their respective States and jurisdictions as follows:  Richmond M.
Flowers of Alabama, Darrell F. Smith of Arizona, Bruce Bennett of Arkansas,
Duke W. Dunbar of Colorado, David P. Buckson of Deleware, Earl Faircloth
of Florida, Arthur K. Bolton of Georgia, Allan G. Shepard of Idaho, William
G. ark of Illinois, Robert C. Londerholm of Kansas, Robert Matthews of
Kentucky, Jack P.F. Gremillian of Lousiana, Richard J. Dubord of Maine,
Thomas  Finan of Maryland, Norman H. Anderson of Missouri, Forrest H.
Anderson of Montana, Clarence A. H. Meyer of Nebraska, T. Wade Bruton of
North Carolina, Helgi Johanneson of North Dakota, Robert Y. Thorton of
Oregon, Walter E. Alessandroni of Pennsylvania, J. Joseph Nugent of Rhode
Island, Daniel R. McLead of South Carolina, Waggoner Carr of Texas, Robert
Y. Button of VIrginia, John J. O'Connell of Washington, C. Donald Robertson
of West Virginia, John F. Raper of Wyoming, Rafael Hernandez of Colon of
Puerto Rico and Francisco Corneiro of the Virgin Islands.
        Duane R. Nedrud, by special leave of Court, argued the cause for the
National District Attorneys Association, as amicus curiae, urging affirmance in
Nos. 759 and 760, and reversal in No. 584.  With him on the brief was Marguerte
D. Oberto.

        Anthony G. Amsterdam, Paul J. Mishkin, Raymond L. Bradley, Peter Hearn
and Melvin L. Wulf filed a brief for the American Civil Liberties Union, as
amicus curiae, in all cases.


        MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

        The cases before us raise questions which go to the roots of our
concepts of American criminal jurisprudence:  the restraints society must
observe consistent with the Federal Constitution in prosecuting individuals for
crime.  More specifically, we deal with the admissibility of statements
obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police
interrogation and the necessity for procedures which assure that the
individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the
Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.
        We delt with certain phases of this problem recently in Escobedo v.
Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964).  There, as in the four cases before us, law
enforcement officials took the defendant into custody and interrogated him
in a police station for the purpose of obtaining a confession.  The police
did not effectively advise him of his right ot remain silent or of his
right ot consult with his attorney.  Rather, they confronted him with an
alleged accomplice who accused him of having perpetrated a murder.  When
the defendant denied the accusation and said "I didn't shoot Manuel, you
did it," they handcuffed and standing, he was questioned for four hours
until he confessed.  During this interrogation, the police denied his
request to speak to his attorney, and they prevented his retained attorney,
who had come to the police station, from consulting with him.  At his
trial, the State, over his objection, introduced the confession against
him.  We held that the statement thus made were constitutionally
        This case has been the subject of judicial interpretation and
spirited legal debate since it was decided two years ago.  Both state and
federal courts, in assessing its implications, have arrived at varying
conclusions N1.  A wealth of scholarly material has been written tracing
its ramifications and underpinnings n2.  Police and prosecutor have
speculated on its range and desirability n3.  We granted certiorari in
these cases, 382 U.S. 924, 925,9376, in order further to explore some
facets of the problems, thus exposed, of applying the privilege against
self-incrimination to in-custody interrogation, and to give concrete
constitutional guidelines for law enforcement agencies an courts to follow.

        n1 Compare United States v. Chidress, 347 F. 2d 448 (CA 7th Cir.
1965), with Collins v. Beto, 348F. 2d 823 (CA 5th Cir. 1965)  Compare
People v. Dorado, 62 Cal. 2d 338,398 P. 2d 361, 42 Cal. Rptr 169 (1964)
with People v. Hartgraves, 31 Ill. 2d 375, 202 N.E. (1964).
        n2 See, e.g., Enker & Elsen, Cousel for the Suspect: Massiah v.
United States and Escobedo v. Illinois, 49 Minn. L. Rev. 47 (1964); Herman,
The Supreme COurt and Restrictions on Police Interrogation, 25 Ohio St.
L.J. 449 (1964); Kamisar, Equal Justice in the Gatehouses and Mansions of
American Criminal Procedure, in Criminal Justice in Our Time 1 (1965);
Dowling, Escobedo J. Crim. L.C. & P.S. 143, 156 (1965).

        The complex problems also prompted discussions by jurists.  Compare
Bazelon, Law, Morality, and Civil Liberties, 12 U.C.L.A. L. Rev 13 (1964),
with Friendly, The Bill of Rights as a Code of Criminal Procedure, 53 Calf.
L. Rev. 929 (1965).

        n3 For example, the Los Angeles Police Chief stated that "If the
police are that the defendant was apprised of his
constitutional guarantees of silence and legal counsel prior to the
uttering of any admission or confession, and that he intelligently waived
these guarantees... a whole Pandora's box is opened as to under what
circumstances... can a defendant intelligently waive these rights...

Allegations that modern criminal investigation can compensate for the lack
of a confession or admission in every criminal case is totally absurd!"
Parker, 40 L.A. Bar Bull. 603, 607, 642 (1965).  His prosecurtorial
counterpart, District Attorney Younger, stated that "It begins to appear
that many of these seemingly restrictive decisions are going to contribute
directly to a more effective, efficient and professional level of law
enforcement.:  L.A. Times, Oct. 2, 1965, p.1.  The former Police
Commissioner of New York, Michael J. Murphy, stated of Escobedo: "What the
Court is doing is akin to requiring one boxer to fight by Marquis of
Queensbury rules whil permitting the other to butt, gouge and bite."  N.Y.
Times, May 14, 1965, Pp. 39.  the former United States Attourney for the
District of Columbia, David C. Aacheson, who is presently Special Assistant
to the Secretary of the Treasury (for Enforcement), and directly in charge
of the Secret Service and the Bureau of Narcotics, observed that
"Prosecution procedure has, at most, only the most remote causal connection
with crime.  Changes in court decisions and prosecution procedure would
have about the same effect on the crime rate as an aspirin would procedure
would have on a tumor of the brain."  Quoted in Herman, supra, n.2, at 500,
n. 270.  Other views on the subject in general asre collected in Weisberg,
Police Interrogation of Arrested Persons:  A Skeptical View, 52 J. Crim.
L.C. & P.S. 21 (1961).

        We start here, as we did in Escobedo, with the premise that our
holding is not an innovation in our jurisprudence, but is an application of
principles long recognized and applied in other settings.  We have
undertaken a thorough re-examination of the Escobedo decision and the
principles it announced, and we reaffirm it.  That case was but an
explication off basic rights that are enshrined in our Constitution - that
"No person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
against himself," and that "the accused shall..have the Assistance of
Counsel" - rights which were put in jeopardy in that case through official
overbearing. These precious rights were fixed in our Constitution only
after centuries of persecution and struggle.  And in the words to approach
immortality as nearly as human institutions can approach it," Cohens v.
Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 387 (1821.)

        Over 70 years ago, our predecessors on this Court eloquently

        "The maxim nemo tenetur seipsum accusare had its origin in a
protest against the inquisitorial and manifestly unjust methods of
interrogating accused persons, which [have] long obtained in the
continental system, and until the expulsion of the Stuarts from the British
throne in 1688, and the erection of additional barriers for the protection
of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power, [were] not uncommon
even in England.  While the admissions or confessions of the prisoner, when
voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the scale of
incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his
apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which
the questions put to him may assume an inquistorial character, the
temptation to press the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or
reluctant, to push him into a corner, and to entrap him into fatal
contradictions, which is so painfully evident in many of the earlier state
trials, notably in those of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, and Udal, the
Puritan minister, made the system so odious as to give rise to a
demand for its total abolition.  The change in the English criminal
procedure in that particular seems to be founded upon no statute and no
judicial opinion, but upon a general and silent acquiescence of the courts
in a popular demand.  But, however adopted, it has become firmly embedded
in English, as well as in American jurisprudence.  So deeply did the
iniquities of the ancient system impress themselves  upon the minds of the
American colonists that the States, with one accord, Made a denial of the
right to question an accused person a part of their fundamental law, so
that a maxim, which in England was a mere rule of evidence, became clothed
in this country with the impregnability of a constitutional enactment."
Brown v. Walker, 161 U.S. 591, 596-597 (1896).

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