Criminal defendants are entitled to a cluster of vital rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Courts have interpreted these rights in devising doctrines that govern searches, seizures, arrests, interrogations, and other activities of law enforcement. Below is an outline of key cases in criminal procedure with links to the full text of virtually every case, provided free by Justia.
When the process of securing evidence involves a violation of constitutional rights, this evidence generally must be excluded in any subsequent criminal prosecution. However, a good-faith exception applies to certain actions by law enforcement.
Weeks v. U.S. 一 The tendency of those executing federal criminal laws to obtain convictions by means of unlawful seizures and enforced confessions in violation of federal rights is not to be sanctioned by the courts that are charged with the support of constitutional rights.
Wolf v. Colorado 一 In a prosecution in a state court for a state crime, the Fourteenth Amendment does not forbid the admission of relevant evidence, even though obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure.
Mapp v. Ohio 一 All evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the federal Constitution is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court.
U.S. v. Leon 一 The Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule should not be applied to bar the use in the prosecution’s case in chief of evidence obtained by officers acting in reasonable reliance on a search warrant issued by a detached and neutral magistrate but ultimately found to be invalid.
Burdeau v. McDowell 一 The government may retain for use as evidence in the criminal prosecution of their owner incriminating documents that are turned over to it by private individuals who procured them through a wrongful search without the participation or knowledge of any government official.
Illinois v. Krull 一 The Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence obtained by police who acted in objectively reasonable reliance on a statute authorizing warrantless administrative searches, which is subsequently found to violate the Fourth Amendment.
Davis v. U.S. 一 Searches conducted in objectively reasonable reliance on binding appellate precedent are not subject to the exclusionary rule.
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
Sometimes evidence illegally obtained through constitutional violations leads law enforcement to additional evidence that they would not have discovered otherwise. This additional evidence also may be excluded as “fruit of the poisonous tree,” but there are some exceptions.
Wong Sun v. U.S. 一 Statements made by a suspect in his bedroom at the time of his unlawful arrest were the fruit of the agents’ unlawful action and should have been excluded. The narcotics taken from a third party as a result of statements made by the suspect at the time of his arrest were likewise fruits of the unlawful arrest and should not have been admitted. However, when another suspect had been lawfully arraigned and released on his own recognizance after his unlawful arrest and had returned voluntarily several days later when he made an unsigned statement, the connection between his unlawful arrest and the making of that statement was so attenuated that the unsigned statement was not the fruit of the unlawful arrest and was properly admitted.
Brown v. Illinois 一 State courts were in error in assuming that the Miranda warnings, by themselves, under Wong Sun always purge the taint of an illegal arrest.
New York v. Harris 一 When the police have probable cause to arrest a suspect, the exclusionary rule does not bar the use of a statement made by the defendant outside their home, even if the statement is taken after an arrest made in the home in violation of Payton. (See the “Warrantless Arrests” section for this case.)
Segura v. U.S. 一 Police officers’ illegal entry upon private premises did not require suppression of evidence subsequently discovered at those premises when executing a search warrant obtained on the basis of information wholly unconnected with the initial entry.
Murray v. U.S. 一 The Fourth Amendment does not require the suppression of evidence initially discovered during police officers’ illegal entry of private premises if the evidence is also discovered during a later search pursuant to a valid warrant that is wholly independent of the initial illegal entry.
U.S. v. Ceccolini 一 The exclusionary rule should be invoked with much greater reluctance when the claim is based on a causal relationship between a constitutional violation and the discovery of a live witness than when a similar claim is advanced to support suppression of an inanimate object.
Oregon v. Elstad 一 The Fifth Amendment does not require the suppression of a confession, made after proper Miranda warnings and a valid waiver of rights, solely because the police had obtained an earlier voluntary but unwarned admission from the suspect.
U.S. v. Patane 一 A failure to give Miranda warnings to a suspect does not require the suppression of the physical fruits of their unwarned but voluntary statements.
Nix v. Williams 一 Evidence pertaining to the discovery and condition of the victim’s body was properly admitted at the defendant’s second trial on the ground that it would ultimately or inevitably have been discovered even if no violation of any constitutional provision had taken place.
Arizona v. Evans 一 The exclusionary rule does not require the suppression of evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment when the erroneous information resulted from clerical errors of court employees.
Herring v. U.S. 一 When police mistakes leading to an unlawful search are the result of isolated negligence attenuated from the search, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, the exclusionary rule does not apply.
U.S. v. Caceres 一 The exclusionary rule does not require that all evidence obtained in violation of regulations concerning electronic eavesdropping be excluded.
Utah v. Strieff 一 The discovery of a valid, pre-existing, and untainted arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unconstitutional investigatory stop and the evidence seized incident to a lawful arrest.
Searches and Privacy
The Fourth Amendment concept of privacy protects citizens from warrantless searches and seizures when the government violates their reasonable expectation of privacy. This protection applies when a person has a subjective expectation of privacy, and society accepts this expectation as objectively reasonable.
Katz v. U.S. 一 The government’s activities in electronically listening to and recording the defendant’s words violated the privacy on which he justifiably relied while using a telephone booth and thus constituted a search and seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
California v. Greenwood 一 The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the warrantless search and seizure of garbage left for collection outside the curtilage of a home.
Oliver v. U.S. 一 The government’s intrusion upon open fields is not one of the unreasonable searches proscribed by the Fourth Amendment. No expectation of privacy legitimately attaches to open fields.
Florida v. Riley 一 The Fourth Amendment does not require the police traveling in the public airways at an altitude of 400 feet to obtain a warrant to observe what is visible to the naked eye.
Dow Chemical Co. v. U.S. 一 The Fourth Amendment did not prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from taking, without a warrant, aerial photographs of the defendant’s plant complex from an aircraft lawfully in public navigable airspace.
U.S. v. Place 一 The investigative procedure of subjecting luggage to a sniff test by a well-trained narcotics detection dog does not constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
Illinois v. Caballes 一 A dog sniff conducted during a lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has a right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
Florida v. Jardines 一 Using a drug-sniffing dog on a homeowner’s porch to investigate the contents of the home is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
Bond v. U.S. 一 A border patrol agent’s physical manipulation of a bus passenger’s carry-on bag violated the Fourth Amendment proscription against unreasonable searches.
Kyllo v. U.S. 一 When the government uses a device that is not in general public use to explore details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment search, and it is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.
Ferguson v. Charleston 一 A state hospital’s performance of a diagnostic test to obtain evidence of a patient’s criminal conduct for law enforcement purposes is an unreasonable search if the patient has not consented to the procedure.
Maryland v. King 一 When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
U.S. v. Jones 一 The government’s attachment of a GPS device to a vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.
Riley v. California 一 Without a warrant, the police generally may not search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.
Carpenter v. U.S. 一 The government’s acquisition of an individual’s cell-site records was a Fourth Amendment search.
New Jersey v. T.L.O. 一 The Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures applies to searches conducted by public school officials. However, the public interest is best served by a Fourth Amendment standard of reasonableness that stops short of probable cause.
A seizure of a person under the Fourth Amendment generally occurs when a reasonable person would not feel free to cease an interaction with law enforcement. The scope of property that may be seized extends broadly, as does the scope of property that law enforcement can search to conduct a seizure. A sub-area of this topic involves traffic stops and checkpoints.
Florida v. Bostick 一 There is no per se rule that every encounter on a bus is a seizure. The appropriate test is whether, taking into account all the circumstances surrounding the encounter, a reasonable passenger would feel free to decline the officers’ requests or otherwise terminate the encounter.
U.S. v. Drayton 一 The Fourth Amendment does not require police officers to advise bus passengers of their right not to cooperate and to refuse consent to searches.
California v. Hodari D. 一 To constitute a seizure of the person, just as to constitute an arrest, there must be either the application of physical force, however slight, or submission to an officer’s show of authority to restrain the subject’s liberty.
Torres v. Madrid 一 The application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure even if the person does not submit and is not subdued.
Tennessee v. Garner 一 A police officer may not seize an unarmed, non-dangerous suspect by shooting them dead. However, when an officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.
Scott v. Harris 一 A police officer’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death.
Gouled v. U.S. 一 The Fourth Amendment permits searches and seizures under valid search warrants when justified by an interest of the public or the complainant in the property to be seized or its possession, or when a lawful exercise of police power renders its possession by the accused unlawful and provides for its seizure. Papers are not immune from such search and seizure.
Andresen v. Maryland 一 Although the Fifth Amendment may protect an individual from complying with a subpoena for the production of their personal records in their possession, a seizure of the same materials by law enforcement officers is different because the individual against whom the search is directed is not required to aid in the discovery, production, or authentication of incriminating evidence.
Zurcher v. Stanford Daily 一 When the state does not seek to seize persons but instead seeks to seize things, there is no apparent basis in the language of the Fourth Amendment for also imposing the requirements for a valid arrest: probable cause to believe that a third party occupying the place to be searched is implicated in the crime.
Groh v. Ramirez 一 When a warrant did not describe the items to be seized, the fact that the application for the warrant adequately described the items did not save the warrant.
Whrenn v. U.S. 一 The temporary detention of a motorist on probable cause to believe that they have violated the traffic laws does not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable seizures, even if a reasonable officer would not have stopped the motorist without an additional law enforcement objective.
Brendlin v. California 一 When police make a traffic stop, a passenger in the car (not only the driver) is seized for Fourth Amendment purposes and thus may challenge the stop’s constitutionality.
Maryland v. Wilson 一 An officer making a traffic stop may order passengers to get out of the car pending completion of the stop.
Rodriguez v. U.S. 一 Without reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.
Heien v. North Carolina 一 When an officer’s mistake of law was reasonable, there was a reasonable suspicion justifying a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment.
Indianapolis v. Edmond 一 A vehicle checkpoint violates the Fourth Amendment when its primary purpose is indistinguishable from the general interest in crime control.
Illinois v. Lidster 一 A highway checkpoint where police stopped motorists to ask for information about a recent accident was reasonable.
Warrants and Probable Cause
Law enforcement can get an arrest warrant if there is a substantial probability that a crime has been committed by the person to be arrested. Meanwhile, they can get a search warrant if there is a substantial probability that certain items are the fruits, instrumentalities, or evidence of a crime and that these items can currently be found at a certain place. Under the knock and announce rule, police must announce their presence and give people on the premises an opportunity to open the door before executing a warrant.
Aguilar v. Texas 一 Although an affidavit supporting a search warrant may be based on hearsay information, the magistrate must be informed of some of the underlying circumstances on which the person providing the information relied and some of the underlying circumstances from which the affiant concluded that the undisclosed informant was creditable or their information reliable.
Draper v. U.S. 一 Even if the information received by an agent from an informer was hearsay, the agent was legally entitled to consider it in determining whether he had probable cause under the Fourth Amendment and reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant had committed or was committing a violation of the narcotics laws.
Spinelli v. U.S. 一 A tip was inadequate when it did not set forth any reason to support the conclusion that the informant was reliable and did not sufficiently state the underlying circumstances from which the informant drew their conclusions or sufficiently detail the defendant’s activities. FBI corroboration of limited aspects of the report through the use of independent sources did not sufficiently enhance its reliability.
Illinois v. Gates 一 The rigid two-pronged test under Aguilar and Spinelli for determining whether an informant’s tip establishes probable cause for issuance of a warrant is abandoned, and the totality of the circumstances approach that traditionally has informed probable cause determinations is substituted in its place.
Maryland v. Pringle 一 To determine whether an officer had probable cause to make an arrest, a court must examine the events leading up to the arrest, and then decide whether these historical facts, viewed from the standpoint of an objectively reasonable police officer, amount to probable cause.
Massachusetts v. Upton 一 Even when no single piece of evidence in an affidavit was conclusive, the pieces fit neatly together and thus supported the magistrate’s determination of probable cause.
Franks v. Delaware 一 When a defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was included by the affiant in the warrant affidavit, and if the allegedly false statement is necessary to the finding of probable cause, the Fourth Amendment requires that a hearing be held at the defendant’s request.
McCray v. Illinois 一 A state court does not have a duty to require the disclosure of an informer’s identity at a pretrial hearing held for the purpose of determining only the question of probable cause when there was ample evidence in an open and adversary proceeding that the informer was known to the officers to be reliable and that they made the arrest in good faith upon the information that the informer supplied.
Brown v. U.S. 一 A crime victim’s observation may be faulty in some respects, but the mistakes are irrelevant if there is sufficient particularized information to constitute probable cause.
Brooks v. U.S. 一 Probable cause involves probabilities, rather than technicalities, and the probabilities must be measured by the standards of the reasonable, cautious, and prudent peace officer as he sees them, rather than those of the casual passerby.
Wilson v. Arkansas 一 The common-law knock and announce principle forms a part of the Fourth Amendment reasonableness inquiry.
Richards v. Wisconsin 一 A "no-knock" entry is justified when the police have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile, or that it would inhibit the effective investigation of the crime.
U.S. v. Banks 一 A 15-to-20-second wait before forcible entry satisfied the Fourth Amendment.
Illinois v. McArthur 一 Police officers acted reasonably when, with probable cause to believe that a man had hidden marijuana in his home, they prevented that man from entering the home for about two hours while they obtained a search warrant.
Steagald v. U.S. 一 An arrest warrant, as opposed to a search warrant, is inadequate to protect the Fourth Amendment interests of persons not named in the warrant when their home is searched without their consent and in the absence of exigent circumstances.
An officer can make an arrest without a warrant for a misdemeanor or felony that was committed in their presence. They also can make a warrantless arrest in a public place for a felony that was not committed in their presence, but not by non-consensually entering the home of a suspect unless there are exigent circumstances.
U.S. v. Watson 一 The cases construing the Fourth Amendment reflect the common-law rule that a peace officer was permitted to arrest without a warrant for a misdemeanor or felony committed in their presence, as well as for a felony not committed in their presence if there was reasonable ground for making the arrest.
Gerstein v. Pugh 一 The Fourth Amendment requires a judicial determination of probable cause as a prerequisite to extended restraint of liberty following an arrest.
Payton v. New York 一 The Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from making a warrantless and non-consensual entry into the home of a suspect to make a routine felony arrest.
Atwater v. Lago Vista 一 The Fourth Amendment does not forbid a warrantless arrest for a minor criminal offense, such as a misdemeanor seatbelt violation punishable only by a fine.
Searches Incident to Arrest
A search that is conducted incident to a lawful arrest is not only an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment but also an inherently reasonable search. These searches are justified to disarm suspects to take them into custody and preserve evidence on their persons.
U.S. v. Robinson 一 In the case of a lawful custodial arrest, a full search of the person is not only an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment but also a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.
U.S. v. Edwards 一 Once an accused has been lawfully arrested and is in custody, the effects in their possession at the place of detention that were subject to search at the time and place of the arrest may lawfully be searched and seized without a warrant even after a substantial time lapse between the arrest and later administrative processing, on the one hand, and the taking of the property for use as evidence, on the other.
Schmerber v. California 一 The interests in human dignity and privacy that the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any intrusions beyond the body’s surface on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained. There must be a clear indication that such evidence will be found.
Winston v. Lee 一 The reasonableness of surgical intrusions beneath the skin depends on a case-by-case approach, in which the individual’s interests in privacy and security are weighed against society’s interests in conducting the procedure to obtain evidence for fairly determining guilt or innocence.
Chimel v. California 一 An arresting officer may search the arrestee’s person to discover and remove weapons and to seize evidence to prevent its concealment or destruction, and they may search the area within the immediate control of the person arrested, meaning the area from which the person might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.
New York v. Belton 一 When a policeman has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of an automobile, they may search the passenger compartment of that automobile as a contemporaneous incident of that arrest. The police may also examine the contents of any containers found within the passenger compartment.
Thornton v. U.S. 一 Belton governs even when an officer does not make contact until the person arrested has left the vehicle.
Rawlings v. Kentucky 一 When the arrest followed quickly after the search of the defendant’s person, it is not important that the search preceded the arrest, rather than vice versa.
Maryland v. Buie 一 The Fourth Amendment permits a properly limited protective sweep in conjunction with an in-home arrest when the searching officer has a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts that the area to be swept harbors a person posing a danger to those on the arrest scene.
Arizona v. Hicks 一 A truly cursory inspection, which involves merely looking at what is already exposed to view without disturbing it, is not a search for Fourth Amendment purposes and therefore does not even require reasonable suspicion.
Knowles v. Iowa 一 While the authority to conduct a full field search as incident to an arrest was established as a bright line rule under Robinson, that rule should not be extended to a situation in which the concern for officer safety is not present to the same extent, and the concern for destruction or loss of evidence is not present at all.
Arizona v. Gant 一 Police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if it is reasonable to believe that the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest.
Searches Under Exigent Circumstances
Warrantless searches that are not incident to arrest sometimes may be justified when exigent circumstances are present. These may include various types of emergencies, “hot pursuit” of a fleeing felon by law enforcement, or the imminent destruction or removal of evidence.
Vale v. Louisiana 一 Only in a few specifically established and well delineated situations may a warrantless search of a dwelling withstand constitutional scrutiny. These include when there was consent to the search, the officers were responding to an emergency, the officers were in hot pursuit of a fleeing felon, or the goods ultimately seized were in the process of destruction or were about to be removed from the jurisdiction.
Segura v. U.S. 一 Securing a dwelling on the basis of probable cause to prevent the destruction or removal of evidence while a search warrant is being sought is not an unreasonable seizure of the dwelling or its contents.
Warden v. Hayden 一 The exigencies of a situation in which officers were in pursuit of a suspected armed felon in the house that he had entered only minutes before they arrived permitted their warrantless entry and search. Also, the distinction prohibiting seizure of items of only evidential value and allowing seizure of instrumentalities, fruits, or contraband is no longer required by the Fourth Amendment.
Kentucky v. King 一 The exigent circumstances rule applies when the police do not create the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment.
Brigham City v. Stuart 一 Police may enter a home without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury.
The Supreme Court has consistently held that an officer can search a vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband. This is based on the mobility of motor vehicles and the reduced expectation of privacy in them.
U.S. v. Ross 一 Police officers who have legitimately stopped a vehicle and who have probable cause to believe that contraband is concealed somewhere in it may conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle that is as thorough as a magistrate could authorize by warrant.
California v. Carney 一 The two justifications for the vehicle exception come into play when a vehicle is being used on the highways or is capable of such use and is found stationary in a place not regularly used for residential purposes. The vehicle is readily mobile, and there is a reduced expectation of privacy stemming from the pervasive regulation of vehicles capable of traveling on highways.
California v. Acevedo 一 In a search extending only to a container within a vehicle, the police may search the container without a warrant when they have probable cause to believe that it holds contraband or evidence.
Wyoming v. Houghton 一 Police officers with probable cause to search a car may inspect passengers’ belongings found in the car that are capable of concealing the object of the search.
Collins v. Virginia 一The automobile exception does not permit the warrantless entry of a home or its curtilage to search a vehicle therein.
Law enforcement generally can inventory lawfully impounded property without obtaining a warrant. These are considered routine, non-criminal procedures that do not need to be justified by probable cause.
Illinois v. Lafayette 一 Consistent with the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable for police to search the personal effects of a person under lawful arrest as part of the routine administrative procedure at a police station incident to booking and jailing the suspect.
Colorado v. Bertine 一 Reasonable police regulations related to inventory procedures, administered in good faith, satisfy the Fourth Amendment.
Consent to Searches
A search does not need to be supported by a warrant or probable cause when an individual with proper authority gives consent to law enforcement to conduct the search.
Schneckloth v. Bustamonte 一 When the subject of a search is not in custody, and the state would justify a search on the basis of their consent, the state must demonstrate that the consent was voluntary. Voluntariness is determined from the totality of the surrounding circumstances. While knowledge of a right to refuse consent is a factor to be taken into account, the state need not prove that the person knew that they had a right to withhold consent.
Ohio v. Robinette 一 The Fourth Amendment does not require that a lawfully seized defendant be advised that they are free to go before their consent to search will be recognized as voluntary.
Florida v. Jimeno 一 A criminal suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches is not violated when, after he gives police permission to search his car, they open a closed container found within the car that might reasonably hold the object of the search.
Georgia v. Randolph 一 When a physically present co-occupant of a residence explicitly refuses to permit entry, this may render a warrantless entry and search unreasonable and invalid as to them, depending on the circumstances.
Fernandez v. California 一 The holding in Randolph is limited to situations in which the objecting occupant is physically present.
Stop and Frisks and Related Issues
To stop a suspect, an officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the individual is committing a crime, or has committed or is about to commit a crime. An officer can frisk a suspect (pat down their clothes) if they reasonably suspect that the individual is armed and dangerous.
Terry v. Ohio 一 When a police officer observes unusual conduct that leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, when he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries in the course of investigating this behavior, and when nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others’ safety, the officer is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons that might be used to assault him.
U.S. v. Cortez 一 In determining what cause is sufficient to authorize police to stop a person, the totality of the circumstances (the whole picture) must be taken into account. Based upon that whole picture, the detaining officers must have a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of criminal activity.
Alabama v. White 一 Factors for determining whether an informant’s tip establishes probable cause are also relevant in the Terry reasonable suspicion context, although allowance must be made in applying them for the lesser showing required to meet that standard.
Minnesota v. Dickerson 一 The police may seize non-threatening contraband detected through the sense of touch during a protective patdown search of the sort permitted by Terry, so long as the search stays within the bounds marked by Terry.
Michigan v. Long 一 A search of the passenger compartment of an automobile, limited to those areas in which a weapon may be placed or hidden, is permissible under Terry if the police officer possesses a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts that, taken together with the rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the officer to believe that the suspect is dangerous and that the suspect may gain immediate control of weapons.
Florida v. J.L. 一 An anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun is not, without more, sufficient to justify a police officer's stop and frisk of that person.
Illinois v. Wardlow 一 An individual's presence in a "high crime area," standing alone, is not enough to support a reasonable, particularized suspicion of criminal activity. However, a location's characteristics are relevant in determining whether the circumstances are sufficiently suspicious to warrant further investigation.
Arizona v. Johnson 一 In a traffic stop setting, the first Terry condition (a lawful investigatory stop) is met whenever it is lawful for police to detain an automobile and its occupants pending inquiry into a vehicular violation. The police need not have cause to believe that any occupant of the vehicle is involved in criminal activity. To justify a patdown of the driver or a passenger during a traffic stop, however, the police must harbor reasonable suspicion that the person subjected to the frisk is armed and dangerous.
Confessions and Voluntariness
A confession obtained by the police must be voluntary to be admitted against a defendant. A confession is generally voluntary if the defendant could exercise their free will, rather than being overcome by police coercion. This requires considering the totality of the circumstances.
Rochin v. California 一 Involuntary verbal confessions are inadmissible under the Due Process Clause even though statements contained in them may be independently established as true. Coerced confessions offend the community’s sense of fair play and decency.
McNabb v. U.S. 一 The circumstances (detailed in the opinion) under which federal officers obtained incriminating statements from the defendants in this case, together with the flagrant disregard of Acts of Congress requiring that accused persons arrested by federal officers be taken before a U.S. Commissioner or other judicial officer, rendered the evidence thus obtained inadmissible. Convictions resting on such evidence must be set aside.
Mallory v. U.S. 一 It is not the function of the police to arrest at large and to use an interrogating process at police headquarters to determine whom they should charge before a committing magistrate on probable cause.
Miller v. Fenton 一 To be voluntary, a confession must not have been extracted by threats or violence, nor obtained by any direct or implied promises, however slight. However, it does not matter that the accused confessed because of the promise, so long as the promise did not overbear their will. Courts have treated promises as part of the totality of the circumstances in assessing the voluntariness of confessions.
Colorado v. Connelly 一 Coercive police activity is a necessary predicate to finding that a confession is not voluntary within the meaning of the Due Process Clause.
The Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel
A criminal defendant has a constitutional right to have a lawyer assist in their defense, even if they cannot pay for counsel. Violations of this right generally lead to the exclusion of incriminating statements obtained as a result. Disputes may arise over when this right attaches.
Gideon v. Wainwright 一 The right of an indigent defendant in a criminal trial to have the assistance of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial.
Massiah v. U.S. 一 Incriminating statements deliberately elicited by federal agents from the suspect in the absence of their attorney deprived them of their right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment.
Escobedo v. Illinois 一 The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is violated when a police investigation has begun to focus on a particular suspect in police custody who has been refused an opportunity to consult with their counsel and has not been warned of their constitutional right to keep silent.
Brewer v. Williams 一 The Sixth Amendment right to counsel means at least that a person is entitled to a lawyer’s help at or after the time that judicial proceedings have been initiated against them. To show a waiver of the right to the assistance of counsel, the state must prove an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.
Maine v. Moulton 一 The Sixth Amendment is violated when the state obtains incriminating statements by knowingly circumventing the accused’s right to have counsel present in a confrontation between the accused and a state agent.
U.S. v. Henry 一 By intentionally creating a situation likely to induce the accused to make incriminating statements without the assistance of counsel, the government violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
Kuhlmann v. Wilson 一 A defendant does not make out a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel simply by showing that an informant reported their incriminating statements to the police. Instead, the defendant must demonstrate that the police and their informant took some action beyond merely listening that was designed deliberately to elicit incriminating remarks.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the police cannot question a defendant in a custodial interrogation until they provide the defendant with certain warnings that protect the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. These include the right to remain silent, the right to the presence of an attorney, and the right to have an attorney appointed if they cannot afford counsel.
Miranda v. Arizona 一 The prosecution may not use statements stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that they have a right to remain silent, that any statement that they make may be used as evidence against them, and that they have a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed.
Withrow v. Williams 一 The restriction in Stone v. Powell on the exercise of federal habeas jurisdiction does not extend to a state prisoner’s claim that their conviction rests on statements obtained in violation of the Miranda safeguards.
Beckwith v. U.S. 一 Miranda implicitly defined “focus” for its purposes as questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of their freedom of action in any significant way.
Berkemer v. McCarty 一 The roadside questioning of a motorist detained pursuant to a routine traffic stop does not constitute “custodial interrogation” for the purposes of the Miranda rule.
Rhode Island v. Innis 一 The Miranda safeguards come into play whenever a person in custody is subjected to either express questioning or its functional equivalent. The term “interrogation” under Miranda refers not only to express questioning but also to any words or actions on the part of the police that they should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.
Arizona v. Mauro 一 The purpose of Miranda and Innis is to prevent the government from using the coercive nature of confinement to extract confessions that would not be given in an unrestrained environment. This purpose is not implicated when a suspect is not subjected to compelling influences, psychological ploys, or direct questioning.
Pennsylvania v. Muniz 一 The privilege against self-incrimination protects an accused from being compelled to provide the state with evidence of a testimonial or communicative nature, but not from being compelled by the state to produce real or physical evidence. To be testimonial, the communication must explicitly or implicitly relate a factual assertion or disclose information.
New York v. Quarles 一 The doctrinal underpinnings of Miranda do not require that it be applied in all its rigor to a situation in which police officers ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for the public safety.
Illinois v. Perkins 一 Miranda warnings are not required when the suspect is unaware that they are speaking to a law enforcement officer and gives a voluntary statement.
Stansbury v. California 一 An officer’s subjective and undisclosed view concerning whether a person being interrogated is a suspect is irrelevant to the assessment of whether the person is in custody for Miranda purposes.
Dickerson v. U.S. 一 Since Miranda is a constitutional decision of the Supreme Court, it may not be in effect overruled by an Act of Congress.
Florida v. Powell 一 While the warnings prescribed by Miranda are invariable, the Supreme Court has not dictated the words in which the essential information must be conveyed. In determining whether police warnings are satisfactory, a reviewing court must determine whether the warnings reasonably convey to a suspect their rights as required by Miranda.
Missouri v. Seibert 一 A police officer must not make a conscious decision to withhold Miranda warnings, question first, then give the warnings, and then repeat the question until they get the answer previously given.
J.D.B. v. North Carolina 一 The age of a child is relevant to the determination of whether they are in police custody for Miranda purposes.
Vega v. Tekoh 一 A violation of the Miranda rules does not provide a basis for a Section 1983 claim against a police officer who improperly obtained a statement.
Invocation and Waiver of Miranda Rights
When claiming that a defendant waived their Miranda rights, the state must show that the waiver was knowing and intelligent. A waiver cannot be presumed simply from the silence of a suspect after warnings are provided. However, a suspect sometimes can waive their rights implicitly through conduct.
Connecticut v. Barrett 一 Although the Miranda rules were designed to protect defendants from being compelled by the government to make statements, they also give defendants the right to choose between speech and silence.
Fare v. Michael C. 一 A defendant’s request for their probation officer was not a per se invocation of their Fifth Amendment rights under Miranda.
Michigan v. Moseley 一 The admissibility of statements obtained after the person in custody has decided to remain silent depends under Miranda on whether their right to cut off questioning was scrupulously honored.
Edwards v. Arizona 一 When an accused has invoked their right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established by showing only that they responded to police-initiated interrogation after again being advised of their rights. When an accused has expressed their desire to deal with the police only through counsel, they are not subject to further interrogation until counsel has been made available to them, unless they have initiated further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police.
Arizona v. Roberson 一 The Edwards rule applies to bar police-initiated interrogation following a suspect’s request for counsel in the context of a separate investigation.
Minnick v. Mississippi 一 When counsel is requested, interrogation must cease, and officials may not reinitiate interrogation without counsel present, regardless of whether the accused has consulted with their attorney.
Davis v. U.S. 一 After a knowing and voluntary waiver of Miranda rights, law enforcement officers may continue questioning until and unless a suspect clearly requests an attorney.
Oregon v. Bradshaw 一 A suspect initiates further conversation within the meaning of Edwards when their statement evinces a willingness and a desire for a generalized discussion about the investigation, rather than pursuing a necessary inquiry arising out of the incidents of the custodial relationship.
Moran v. Burbine 一 Whether intentional or inadvertent, the state of mind of the police is irrelevant to the question of the intelligence and voluntariness of a defendant’s decision to abandon their rights.
Patterson v. Illinois 一 An accused who is admonished with the Miranda warnings has been sufficiently apprised of the nature of their Sixth Amendment rights and the consequences of abandoning those rights so that their waiver on this basis will be considered knowing and intelligent.
Maryland v. Shatzer 一 When a suspect experienced a break in Miranda custody lasting more than two weeks between the first and second attempts at interrogation, Edwards did not mandate the suppression of their statements.
Berghuis v. Thompkins 一 A suspect’s silence during interrogation did not invoke their right to remain silent. The Miranda right to counsel must be invoked unambiguously. If a suspect makes an ambiguous or equivocal statement, or no statement, the police are not required to end the interrogation or ask questions to clarify the suspect’s intent.
Salinas v. Texas 一 Although no ritualistic formula is necessary to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, a witness does not do so by simply standing mute.
McNeil v. Wisconsin 一 An invocation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel during a judicial proceeding does not constitute an invocation of the right to counsel derived by Miranda from the Fifth Amendment guarantee against compelled self-incrimination.
Pre-Trial Identification Procedures
The right to an attorney attaches at a police lineup after an indictment because this is considered a critical stage of the proceedings. In contrast, photo identification is generally not a critical stage and does not trigger the right to an attorney.
U.S. v. Wade 一 The Sixth Amendment guarantees an accused the right to counsel at any critical confrontation by the prosecution at pre-trial proceedings at which the results might well determine their fate, and at which the absence of counsel might derogate from their right to a fair trial. A post-indictment lineup is a critical prosecutive stage at which an accused is entitled to the aid of counsel.
Kirby v. Illinois 一 A showup after arrest, but before the initiation of any adversary criminal proceeding, is not a criminal prosecution at which the accused as a matter of absolute right is entitled to counsel.
U.S. v. Ash 一 The Sixth Amendment does not grant an accused the right to have counsel present when the government conducts a post-indictment photographic display, containing a picture of the accused, for the purpose of allowing a witness to attempt an identification of the offender.
Stovall v. Denno 一 Although the practice of showing suspects singly for purposes of identification has been widely condemned, a violation of due process in the conduct of a confrontation depends on the totality of the surrounding circumstances.
Manson v. Brathwaite 一 Due process does not compel the exclusion of identification evidence involving an examination of a single photograph. Factors to be weighed against the corrupting effect of a suggestive procedure in assessing reliability include the witness’ opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime, the witness’ degree of attention, the accuracy of their prior description of the criminal, the level of certainty demonstrated at the confrontation, and the time between the crime and the confrontation.
This outline has been compiled by the Justia team for solely educational purposes and should not be treated as an independent source of legal authority or a summary of the current state of the law. Students should use this outline as a supplement rather than a substitute for course-specific outlines.