Dickerson V. United States: The Case that Disappointed Miranda's Critics - and then its Supporters
46 Pages Posted: 25 May 2005
Date Written: May 2005
It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss Dickerson v. United States intelligently without discussing Miranda, whose constitutional status Dickerson reaffirmed (or, one might say, resuscitated). It is also difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the Dickerson case intelligently without discussing cases the Court has handed down in the five years since Dickerson was decided. The hard truth is that in those five years the reaffirmation of Miranda's constitutional status has become less and less meaningful.
In this paper I want to focus on the Court's characterization of statements elicited in violation of the Miranda warnings as not actually "coerced" or "compelled" but obtained merely in violation of Miranda's "prophylactic rules." This terminology has plagued the Miranda doctrine and puzzled and provoked many commentators since then - Justice Rehnquist utilized this label to describe and to diminish Miranda - and he was the first Justice ever to do so - thirty-one years ago.
Keywords: Miranda warnings, prophylactic rules, rights against self incrimination, constitutional protection
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation