State Constitutions and Criminal Justice

By Barry Latzer | Go to book overview

Preface

Although a great deal has been written about state constitutional law of late, particularly in law reviews, there have been few comprehensive analyses of the subject. This book is intended to correct that. It should serve as a reference as well as a critical evaluation of recent (largely post-1970) developments in state constitutional criminal procedure law.

The introduction provides background information that is essential to the understanding of developments in the last twenty years, this rebirth of state constitutionalism that has come to be called the "New Judicial Federalism." Readers who are not familiar with the subject should especially benefit from reading the introduction.

Chapter 1 gives detail on the law governing the relationship between the U.S. Supreme Court and the state courts. It describes the complex rules governing Supreme Court jurisdiction, including the "independent and adequate state grounds doctrine." This law did not develop in a vacuum; it reflects the institutional and political-ideological tension between federal and state courts. Readers should find especially interesting the analysis of the Burger Court decision in Michigan v. Long, which is seen here as an attempt to keep liberal state rulings from "spilling over" into federal law.

Chapters 2 through 7 collect and analyze all of the state constitutional criminal law decisions made by state courts of last resort in the last two decades. They cover, respectively, search and seizure law (divided into two chapters, one for "procedural" rulings, i.e., exclusionary rule and related issues, and one for "substantive" rulings), Miranda and other self-incrimination matters, the right to counsel and to confront adverse

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