422 U.S. 590 (1975), 73-6650, Brown v. Illinois

Docket Nº:No. 73-6650
Citation:422 U.S. 590, 95 S.Ct. 2254, 45 L.Ed.2d 416
Party Name:Brown v. Illinois
Case Date:June 26, 1975
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 590

422 U.S. 590 (1975)

95 S.Ct. 2254, 45 L.Ed.2d 416




No. 73-6650

United States Supreme Court

June 26, 1975

Argued March 18, 1975



Petitioner, who had been arrested without probable cause and without a warrant, and under circumstances indicating that the arrest was investigatory, made two in-custody inculpatory statements after he had been given the warnings prescribed by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436. Thereafter indicted for murder, petitioner filed a pretrial motion to suppress the statements. The motion was overruled and the statements were used in the trial, which resulted in petitioner's conviction. The State Supreme Court, though recognizing the unlawfulness of petitioner's arrest, held that the statements were admissible on the ground that the giving of the Miranda warnings served to break the causal connection between the illegal arrest and the giving of the statements, and petitioner's act in making the statements was "sufficiently an act of free will to purge the primary taint of the unlawful invasion." Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 486.


1. The Illinois courts erred in adopting a per se rule that Miranda warnings in and of themselves broke the causal chain so that any subsequent statement, even one induced by the continuing effects of unconstitutional custody, was admissible so long as, in the traditional sense, it was voluntary and not coerced in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. When the exclusionary rule is used to effectuate the Fourth Amendment, it serves interests and policies that are distinct from those it serves under the Fifth, being directed at all unlawful searches and seizures, and not merely those that happen to produce incriminating material or testimony as fruits. Thus, even if the statements in this case were found to be voluntary under the Fifth Amendment, the Fourth Amendment issue remains. Wong Sun requires not merely that a statement meet the Fifth Amendment voluntariness standard, but that it be "sufficiently an act of free will to purge the primary taint" in light of the distinct policies and interests of the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 600-603.

2. The question whether a confession is voluntary under Wong Sun must be answered on the facts of each case. Though

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Miranda warnings are an important factor in resolving the issue, other factors must be considered; and the burden of showing admissibility of in-custody statements of persons who have been illegally arrested rests on the prosecutor. Pp. 603-604.

3. The State failed to sustain its burden in this case of showing that petitioner's statements were admissible under Wong Sun. Pp. 604-605.

56 Ill.2d 312, 307 N.E.2d 356 reversed and remanded.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, STEWART, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 606. POWELL, J., filed an opinion concurring in part, in which REHNQUIST, J., joined, post, p. 606.

BLACKMUN, J., lead opinion

MR JUSTICE BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case lies at the crossroads of the Fourth and the Fifth Amendments. Petitioner was arrested without probable cause and without a warrant. He was given, in full, the warnings prescribed by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Thereafter, while in custody, he made two inculpatory statements. The issue is whether evidence of those statements was properly admitted, or should have been excluded, in petitioner's subsequent trial for murder in state court. Expressed another way, the issue is whether the statements were to be excluded

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as the fruit of the illegal arrest, or were admissible because the giving of the Miranda warnings sufficiently attenuated the taint of the arrest. See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963). The Fourth Amendment, of course, has been held to be applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961).


As petitioner Richard Brown was climbing the last of the stairs leading to the rear entrance of his Chicago apartment in the early evening of May 13, 1968, he happened to glance at the window near the door. He saw, pointed at him through the window, a revolver held by a stranger who was inside the apartment. The man said: "Don't move, you are under arrest." App. 42. Another man, also with a gun, came up behind Brown and repeated the statement that he was under arrest. It was about 7:45 p.m. The two men turned out to be Detectives William Nolan and William Lenz of the Chicago police force. It is not clear from the record exactly when they advised Brown of their identity, but it is not disputed that they broke into his apartment, searched it, and then arrested Brown, all without probable cause and without any warrant, when he arrived. They later testified that they made the arrest for the purpose of questioning Brown as part of their investigation of the murder of a man named Roger Corpus.

Corpus was murdered one week earlier, on May 6, with a .38-caliber revolver in his Chicago West Side second-floor apartment. Shortly thereafter, Detective Lenz obtained petitioner's name, among others, from Corpus' brother. Petitioner and the others were identified as acquaintances of the victim, not as suspects.1

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On the day of petitioner's arrest, Detectives Lenz and Nolan, armed with a photograph of Brown, and another officer arrived at petitioner's apartment about 5 p.m. App. 77, 78. While the third officer covered the front entrance downstairs, the two detectives broke into Brown's apartment and searched it. Id. at 86. Lenz then positioned himself near the rear door and watched through the adjacent window which opened onto the back porch. Nolan sat near the front door. He described the situation at the later suppression hearing:

After we were there for a while, Detective Lenz told me that somebody was coming up the back stairs. I walked out the front door through the hall and around the corner, and I stayed there behind a door leading on to the back porch. At this time I heard Detective Lenz say, "Don't move, you are under arrest." I looked out. I saw Mr. Brown backing away from the window. I walked up behind him, I told him he is under arrest, come back inside the apartment with us.

Id. at 42. As both officers held him at gunpoint, the three entered the apartment. Brown was ordered to stand against the wall, and was searched. No weapon was found. Id. at 93. He was asked his name. When he denied being Richard Brown, Detective Lenz showed him the photograph, informed him that he was under arrest for the murder of Roger Corpus, id. at 16, handcuffed him, id. at 93, and escorted him to the squad car.

The two detectives took petitioner to the Maxwell Street police station. During the 20-minute drive, Nolan again asked Brown, who then was sitting with him in the back seat of the car, whether his name was Richard Brown and whether he owned a 1966 Oldsmobile. Brown

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alternately evaded these questions or answered them falsely. Tr. 74. Upon arrival at the station house, Brown was placed in the second-floor central interrogation room. The room was bare, except for a table and four chairs. He was left alone, apparently without handcuffs, for some minutes while the officers obtained the file on the Corpus homicide. They returned with the file, sat down at the table, one across from Brown and the other to his left, and spread the file on the table in front of him. App. 19.

The officers warned Brown of his rights under Miranda.2 Ibid. They then informed him that they knew of an incident that had occurred in a poolroom on May 5, when Brown, angry at having been cheated at dice, fired a shot from a revolver into the ceiling. Brown answered: "Oh, you know about that." Id. at 20. Lenz informed him that a bullet had been obtained from the ceiling of the poolroom and had been taken to the crime laboratory to be compared with bullets taken from Corpus' body.3 Ibid. Brown responded: "Oh, you know that, too." Id. at 20-21. At this point -- it was about 8:45 p.m. -- Lenz asked Brown whether he wanted to talk about the Corpus homicide. Petitioner answered that he did. For the next 20 to 25 minutes Brown answered questions put to him by Nolan, as Lenz typed. Id. at 21-23.

This questioning produced a two-page statement in which Brown acknowledged that he and a man named

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Jimmy Claggett visited Corpus on the evening of May 5; that the three for some time sat drinking and smoking marihuana; that Claggett ordered him at gunpoint to bind Corpus' hands and feet with cord from the headphone of a stereo set; and that Claggett, using a .38 caliber revolver sold to him by Brown, shot Corpus three times through a pillow. The statement was signed by Brown. Id. at 9, 38.

About 9:30 p.m., the two detectives and Brown left the station house to look for Claggett in an area of Chicago Brown knew him to frequent. They made a tour of that area, but did not locate their quarry. They then went to police headquarters, where they endeavored, without success, to obtain a photograph of Claggett. They resumed their search -- it was now about 11 p.m. -- and they finally observed Claggett crossing at an intersection. Lenz and Nolan arrested him. All four, the two detectives and the two arrested men, returned to the Maxwell Street station about 12:15 a.m. Id. at 39.

Brown was again placed in the interrogation room. He was given coffee and was left alone, for the most part, until 2 a.m., when Assistant State's Attorney Crilly arrived.

Crilly, too, informed Brown of his Miranda rights. After a half hour's conversation, [95 S.Ct. 2258] a court reporter appeared. Once again the Miranda warnings were given: "I read him the card." Id. at 30. Crilly told him that he "was sure he would be...

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