State Constitutions and Criminal Justice

By Barry Latzer | Go to book overview

4
Miranda and Self-Incrimination

Miranda v. Arizona1 is synonymous with the Warren criminal justice "revolution." But because Miranda came at the conclusion of the Warren Court's self-incrimination efforts, that Court did little of significance to further explain its landmark ruling.2 Thus it was left largely to the Burger Court to develop the Miranda doctrine. Following several pro-police rulings, there were dire predictions of Miranda's demise. These proved wrong. The Burger Court weakened but did not overturn Miranda. It even treated respectfully, indeed expansively, the definition of interrogation for Miranda purposes.3 On the other hand, some of the Burger Court opinions tended to erode the constitutional basis for the rule by emphasizing that the famed warnings are not required by the Fifth Amendment but are only safeguards against its violation.4

After Burger, Miranda remained in force, but with several significant exceptions to its exclusionary rule. First, starting with Harris v. New York, the Court approved of the use of statements taken in violation of Miranda to impeach the defendant's credibility should he testify at his trial.5 Chief Justice Warren's opinion for the Court in Miranda had prohibited the prosecutorial "use" of statements taken in violation of its strictures, but it is unclear whether the Warren Court meant "use" to include impeachment as well. In a Fourth Amendment case, the Warren Court permitted an impeachment exception to that exclusionary rule, and the Burger Court cited this case in its Harris opinion.6 Permitting impeachment certainly reduced the price of police noncompliance with Miranda by enabling

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