Miranda Law: The Right to Remain Silent

By Ron Fridell | Go to book overview
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Nine
MIRANDA IS CHALLENGED

In The Year 2000 the Court took up the most serious challenge yet to Miranda, a head-on attempt to overturn it. Dickerson v. United States (2000) was based on Statutory law 3501, passed by Congress in 1968 for that very purpose. Law 3501 told federal authorities that some confessions could be used as evidence in court even if police did not give the suspect Miranda warnings. Federal authorities had elected not to enforce 3501 because they thought it was unconstitutional.

But was it? The Court took up Dickerson to settle the question once and for all.

The petitioner, Charles Dickerson, was tried in federal court, in Alexandria, Virginia, for eighteen bank robberies across three states. Dickerson had confessed during interrogation without being read his Miranda rights. That was why the federal judge in the case excluded the confession from evidence.

The U.S. government appealed the exclusion, and a U.S. District Court of appeals ruled in the government's favor, based on statutory law 3501. As we know, this federal law made the giving of Miranda warnings only one

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