Due Process and the Voluntariness Requirement
In this chapter we begin our study of how the Court has used the Constitution to regulate interrogations. Over the next several chapters, we will review three main lines of cases: (1) those decided under the Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment, which the Court has used to require that only “voluntary” confessions be admitted as evidence, (2) those decided under the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which the Court has used as the basis for the Miranda Rule, and (3) those decided under the Assistance of Counsel Clause of the Sixth Amendment, which the Court has used to prohibit certain questioning of defendants for whom the right to counsel has “attached.”
We begin with cases enforcing the voluntariness requirement under the Due Process Clauses. Our first case, Brown v. Mississippi, appeared in the reading for our first chapter and students may wish to quickly reread the facts of the case if they do not remember them. In that chapter, Brown was presented to provide background on why the Supreme Court might feel the need to supervise the criminal justice systems of the states. Now, we consider it again to learn the substantive law governing interrogations.