Interrogations: The Miranda Rule: Exceptions

The Miranda Rule: Exceptions

In Miranda v. Arizona, the Court summarized its holding as follows: “[T]he prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.” The Court then explained that “unless other fully effective means are devised to inform accused persons of their right of silence and to assure a continuous opportunity to exercise it,” police would be required to provide certain information—the Miranda warnings—to suspects.

We have learned that this holding spawned controversy about the meaning of “custody” and “interrogation,” as well as over when a suspect’s waiver of rights has been “made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently.”

In this chapter, we will review three exceptions that the Court has created to the Miranda Rule. Under each of these exceptions, a prosecutor may use statements against a defendant even though (1) those statements were obtained through custodial interrogation and (2) police either did not provide the Miranda warnings or did so but did not obtain a valid waiver. The three exceptions are known as the “impeachment exception,” the “emergency exception” (also known as the “public safety exception”), and the “routine booking exception.” We begin with impeachment.

In the next case, the Court articulated what is known as the “emergency” or “public safety” exception to the Miranda Rule. Students reading this case should consider two questions. First, is such an exception justified? Second, if so, do the facts presented constitute an “emergency” to which the exception should apply? 


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Criminal Procedure: Undergraduate Edition Copyright © 2022 by Christopher E. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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