LAWS PAGES

(Page 7 of 10)

U.S. Supreme Court
MIRANDA v. ARIZONA, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)

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    1. When an individual is interviewed by agents of the Bureau, what warning is given to him?

      The standard warning long given by Special Agents of the FBI to both suspects and persons under arrest is that the person has a right to say nothing and a right to counsel, and that any statement he does make may be used against him in court. Examples of this warning are to be found in the Westover case at 342 F.2d 684 (1965), and Jackson v. U.S., 337 F.2d 136 (1964), cert. den., 380 U.S. 935.

      After passage of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964, which provides free counsel for Federal defendants unable to pay, we added to our instructions to Special Agents the requirement that any person who is under arrest for an offense under FBI jurisdiction, or whose arrest is contemplated following the interview, must also be advised of his right to free counsel if he is unable to pay, and the fact that such counsel will be assigned by the Judge. At the same time, we broadened the right to counsel warning [p*485] to read counsel of his own choice, or anyone else with whom he might wish to speak.
    2. When is the warning given?

      The FBI warning is given to a suspect at the very outset of the interview, as shown in the Westover case, cited above. The warning may be given to a person arrested as soon as practicable after the arrest, as shown in the Jackson case, also cited above, and in U.S. v. Konigsberg, 336 F.2d 844 (1964), cert. den., 379 U.S. 933, but, in any event, it must precede the interview with the person for a confession or admission of his own guilt.
    3. What is the Bureau's practice in the event that (a) the individual requests counsel and (b) counsel appears?

      When the person who has been warned of his right to counsel decides that he wishes to consult with counsel before making a statement, the interview is terminated at that point, Shultz v. U.S., 351 F.2d 287 (1965). It may be continued, however, as to all matters other than the person's own guilt or innocence. If he is indecisive in his request for counsel, there may be some question on whether he did or did not waive counsel. Situations of this kind must necessarily be left to the judgment of the interviewing Agent. For example, in Hiram v. U.S., 354 F.2d 4 (1965), the Agent's conclusion that the person arrested had waived his right to counsel was upheld by the courts.

      A person being interviewed and desiring to consult counsel by telephone must be permitted to do so, as shown in Caldwell v. U.S., 351 F.2d 459 (1965). When counsel appears in person, he is permitted to confer with his client in private. [p*486]
    4. What is the Bureau's practice if the individual requests counsel, but cannot afford to retain an attorney?

      If any person being interviewed after warning of counsel decides that he wishes to consult with counsel before proceeding, further the interview is terminated, as shown above. FBI Agents do not pass judgment on the ability of the person to pay for counsel. They do, however, advise those who have been arrested for an offense under FBI jurisdiction, or whose arrest is contemplated following the interview, of a right to free counsel if they are unable to pay, and the availability of such counsel from the Judge.[fn55]

      The practice of the FBI can readily be emulated by state and local enforcement agencies. The argument that the FBI deals with different crimes than are dealt with by state authorities does not mitigate the significance of the FBI experience.[fn56]

      The experience in some other countries also suggests that the danger to law enforcement in curbs on interrogation is overplayed. The English procedure, since 1912 under the Judges' Rules, is significant. As recently [p*487] strengthened, the Rules require that a cautionary warning be given an accused by a police officer as soon as he has evidence that affords reasonable grounds for suspicion; they also require that any statement made be given by the accused without questioning by police.[fn57] [p*488] The right of the individual to consult with an attorney during this period is expressly recognized.[fn58]

      The safeguards present under Scottish law may be even greater than in England. Scottish judicial decisions bar use in evidence of most confessions obtained through police interrogation.[fn59] In India, confessions made to police not in the presence of a magistrate have been excluded [p*489] by rule of evidence since 1872, at a time when it operated under British law.[fn60] Identical provisions appear in the Evidence Ordinance of Ceylon, enacted in 1895.[fn61] Similarly, in our country, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has long provided that no suspect may be interrogated without first being warned of his right not to make a statement, and that any statement he makes may be used against him.[fn62] Denial of the right to consult counsel during interrogation has also been proscribed by military tribunals.[fn63] There appears to have been no marked detrimental effect on criminal law enforcement in these jurisdictions as a result of these rules. Conditions of law enforcement in our country are sufficiently similar to permit reference to this experience as assurance that lawlessness will not result from warning an individual of his rights or allowing him to exercise them. Moreover, it is consistent with our legal system that we give at least as much protection to these rights as is given in the jurisdictions described. We deal in our country with rights grounded in a specific requirement of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, [p*490] whereas other jurisdictions arrived at their conclusions on the basis of principles of justice not so specifically defined.[fn64]

      It is also urged upon us that we withhold decision on this issue until state legislative bodies and advisory groups have had an opportunity to deal with these problems by rulemaking.[fn65] We have already pointed out that the Constitution does not require any specific code of procedures for protecting the privilege against self-incrimination during custodial interrogation. Congress and the States are free to develop their own safeguards for the privilege, so long as they are fully as effective as those described above in informing accused persons of their right of silence and in affording a continuous opportunity to exercise it. In any event, however, the issues presented are of constitutional dimensions, and must be determined by the courts. The admissibility of a statement in the face of a claim that it was obtained in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights is an issue the resolution of which has long since been undertaken by this Court. See Hopt v. Utah, 110 U.S. 574 (1884). Judicial solutions to problems of constitutional dimension have evolved decade by decade. As courts have been presented with the need to enforce constitutional rights, they have found means of doing so. That was our responsibility when Escobedo was before us, and it is our [p*491] responsibility today. Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rulemaking or legislation which would abrogate them.