Magistrates' Examinations, Police Interrogations, and Miranda-Like Rules in the Nineteenth Century

53 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2007 Last revised: 20 Feb 2008

Wesley M. Oliver

Duquesne Law School

Abstract

The New York legislature in the early-nineteenth century began to require interrogators to warn suspects of their right to silence and counsel. The Warren Court, in Miranda v. Arizona, did not invent the language of the warnings; rather, it resurrected the warnings that were no longer given in New York after the latter half of the nineteenth century. The confessions rule, a judicially created rule of evidence much like the modern voluntariness rule, excluded many statements if any threat or inducement was made to the suspect. Courts in the early-nineteenth century, however, were willing to accept confessions notwithstanding an improper inducement if the suspect had been given the now-famous warnings. The warnings remained in place until the newly elected New York judiciary began to retreat from the strict version of the confessions rule that prompted interrogators to give those warnings. The threat of losing statements to the confessions rule was greater than the threat that suspects would exercise the rights of which police advised them - at least until the judiciary substantially weakened the confessions rule.

Keywords: Miranda, Interrogation, Nineteenth Century, History

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Oliver, Wesley M., Magistrates' Examinations, Police Interrogations, and Miranda-Like Rules in the Nineteenth Century. Tulane Law Review, Vol. 81, p. 777, 2007; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=979536

Wesley M. Oliver (Contact Author)

Duquesne Law School ( email )

600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
United States

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