Corley v. United States, No. 07–10441.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice SOUTER delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation173 L.Ed.2d 443,129 S.Ct. 1558,556 U.S. 303
Docket NumberNo. 07–10441.
Decision Date06 April 2009
PartiesJohnnie CORLEY, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES.

556 U.S. 303
129 S.Ct.
1558
173 L.Ed.2d 443

Johnnie CORLEY, Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES.

No. 07–10441.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued Jan. 21, 2009.
Decided April 6, 2009.


David L. McColgin, for petitioner.

Michael R. Dreeben, for respondent.

Leigh M. Skipper, Chief Federal Defender, Maureen K. Rowley, Chief Federal Defender, Joseph M. Miller, First Assistant Federal Defender, David L. McColgin, Counsel of Record, Supervising Appellate Attorney, Brett G. Sweitzer, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Community Defender, Philadelphia, PA, for petitioner.

Gregory G. Garre, Solicitor General, Counsel of Record, Matthew W. Friedrich, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Michael R. Dreeben, Deputy Solicitor General, Toby J. Heytens, Assistant to the Solicitor

129 S.Ct. 1562

General, Thomas E. Booth, Attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for United States.

Opinion

Justice SOUTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

556 U.S. 306

The question here is whether Congress intended 18 U.S.C. § 3501 to discard, or merely to narrow, the rule in McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332, 63 S.Ct. 608, 87 L.Ed. 819 (1943), and Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449, 77 S.Ct. 1356, 1 L.Ed.2d 1479 (1957), under which an arrested person's confession is inadmissible if given after an unreasonable delay in bringing him before a judge. We hold that Congress meant to limit, not eliminate, McNabb –Mallory .

I

A

The common law obliged an arresting officer to bring his prisoner before a magistrate as soon as he reasonably could. See County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 61–62, 111 S.Ct. 1661, 114 L.Ed.2d 49 (1991) (SCALIA, J., dissenting). This “presentment” requirement tended to prevent secret detention and served to inform a suspect of the charges against him, and it was the law in nearly every American State and the National Government. See id., at 60–61, 111 S.Ct. 1661;McNabb, supra, at 342, and n. 7, 63 S.Ct. 608.

McNabb v. United States raised the question of how to enforce a number of federal statutes codifying the presentment

556 U.S. 307

rule. 318 U.S., at 342, 63 S.Ct. 608 (citing, among others, 18 U.S.C. § 595 (1940 ed.), which provided that “ ‘[i]t shall be the duty of the marshal ... who may arrest a person ... to take the defendant before the nearest ... judicial officer ... for a hearing’ ”). There, federal agents flouted the requirement by interrogating several murder suspects for days before bringing them before a magistrate, and then only after they had given the confessions that convicted them. 318 U.S., at 334–338, 344–345, 63 S.Ct. 608.

On the defendants' motions to exclude the confessions from evidence, we saw no need to reach any constitutional issue. Instead we invoked the supervisory power to establish and maintain “civilized standards of procedure and evidence” in federal courts, id., at 340, 63 S.Ct. 608, which we exercised for the sake of making good on the traditional obligation embodied in the federal presentment legislation. We saw both the statutes and the traditional rule as aimed not only at checking the likelihood of resort to the third degree but meant generally to “avoid all the evil implications of secret interrogation of persons accused of crime.” Id., at 344, 63 S.Ct. 608. We acknowledged that “Congress ha[d] not explicitly forbidden the use of evidence ... procured” in derogation of the presentment obligation, id., at 345, 63 S.Ct. 608, but we realized that “permit[ting] such evidence to be made the basis of a conviction in the federal courts would stultify the policy which Congress ha[d] enacted into law,”ibid., and in the exercise of supervisory authority we held confessions inadmissible when obtained during unreasonable presentment delay.

Shortly after McNabb, the combined action of the Judicial Conference of the United States and Congress produced Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 5(a), which pulled the several statutory presentment provisions together in one place. See Mallory, supra, at 452, 77 S.Ct. 1356 (describing

129 S.Ct. 1563

Rule 5(a) as “a compendious restatement, without substantive change, of several prior specific federal statutory provisions”). As first enacted, the rule told “[a]n officer making an arrest under a

556 U.S. 308

warrant issued upon a complaint or any person making an arrest without a warrant [to] take the arrested person without unnecessary delay before the nearest available commissioner or before any other nearby officer empowered to commit persons charged with offenses against the laws of the United States.” Fed. Rule Crim. Proc. 5(a) (1946). The rule remains much the same today: “A person making an arrest within the United States must take the defendant without unnecessary delay before a magistrate judge ....” Fed. Rule Crim. Proc. 5(a)(1)(A) (2007).

A case for applying McNabb and Rule 5(a) together soon arose in Upshaw v. United States, 335 U.S. 410, 69 S.Ct. 170, 93 L.Ed. 100 (1948). Despite the Government's confession of error, the D.C. Circuit had thought McNabb 's exclusionary rule applied only to involuntary confessions obtained by coercion during the period of delay, 335 U.S., at 411–412, 69 S.Ct. 170, and so held the defendant's voluntary confession admissible into evidence. This was error, and we reiterated the reasoning of a few years earlier. “In the McNabb case we held that the plain purpose of the requirement that prisoners should promptly be taken before committing magistrates was to check resort by officers to ‘secret interrogation of persons accused of crime.’ ” Id., at 412, 69 S.Ct. 170 (quoting McNabb,supra, at 344, 63 S.Ct. 608).Upshaw consequently emphasized that even voluntary confessions are inadmissible if given after an unreasonable delay in presentment. 335 U.S., at 413, 69 S.Ct. 170.

We applied Rule 5(a) again in Mallory v. United States, holding a confession given seven hours after arrest inadmissible for “unnecessary delay” in presenting the suspect to a magistrate, where the police questioned the suspect for hours “within the vicinity of numerous committing magistrates.” 354 U.S., at 455, 77 S.Ct. 1356. Again, we repeated the reasons for the rule and explained, as we had before and have since, that delay for the purpose of interrogation is the epitome of “unnecessary delay.” Id., at 455–456, 77 S.Ct. 1356; see also McLaughlin, 500 U.S., at 61, 111 S.Ct. 1661 (SCALIA, J., dissenting) (“It was clear” at common

556 U.S. 309

law “that the only element bearing upon the reasonableness of delay was not such circumstances as the pressing need to conduct further investigation, but the arresting officer's ability, once the prisoner had been secured, to reach a magistrate”); Upshaw, supra, at 414, 69 S.Ct. 170. Thus, the rule known simply as McNabb –Mallory “generally render[s] inadmissible confessions made during periods of detention that violat[e] the prompt presentment requirement of Rule 5(a).” United States v. Alvarez–Sanchez, 511 U.S. 350, 354, 114 S.Ct. 1599, 128 L.Ed.2d 319 (1994).

There the law remained until 1968, when Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501 in response to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), and to the application of McNabb –Mallory in some federal courts. Subsections (a) and (b) of § 3501 were meant to eliminate Miranda .1 See Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 435–437, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000) ; infra, at 1568 – 1569. Subsection (a) provides that “[i]n any criminal prosecution brought by the United States ..., a confession ...

129 S.Ct. 1564

shall be admissible in evidence if it is voluntarily given,” while subsection (b) lists several considerations for courts to address in assessing voluntariness.2 Subsection (c), which focused

556 U.S. 310

on McNabb –Mallory , see infra, at 1568 – 1569, provides that in any federal prosecution, “a confession made ... by ... a defendant therein, while such person was under arrest ..., shall not be inadmissible solely because of delay in bringing such person before a magistrate judge ... if such confession is found by the trial judge to have been made voluntarily ... and if such confession was made ... within six hours [of arrest]”; the 6-hour time limit is extended when further delay is “reasonable considering the means of transportation and the distance to be traveled to the nearest available [magistrate judge].”3

556 U.S. 311

The issue in this case is whether Congress intended § 3501 (a) to sweep McNabb – Mallory 's exclusionary rule aside entirely, or merely meant § 3501(c) to provide immunization to voluntary confessions given within six hours of a suspect's arrest.

B

Petitioner Johnnie Corley was suspected of robbing a bank in Norristown, Pennsylvania. After federal agents learned that Corley was subject to arrest on an...

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37 practice notes
  • Al Bahlul v. United States, No. 11–1324.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 14, 2014
    ...to prosecute the enumerated crimes occurring on or before September 11, 2001 would be inoperative. See Corley v. United States, 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009) (“A statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be in......
  • U.S. Small Bus. Admin. v. Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Civ. No. 20-473 MV/GBW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 15, 2021
    ...renders these provisions superfluous and "is thus at odds with one of the most basic interpretive canons." Corley v. United States , 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009). 15 U.S.C. § 636(a)(36)(D)(i) is better read as "identify[ing] the types and size of organizations t......
  • S.C. Pub. Serv. Auth. v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm'n, Nos. 12–1232
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 15, 2014
    ...of gas pipeline construction matters: if it did, there would be no need for the separate provision. See Corley v. United States, 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009) (“[A] statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be......
  • Hedges v. Obama, Docket Nos. 12–3176 (Lead), 12–3644(Con).
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • July 17, 2013
    ...statutory interpretation is a holistic endeavor.” (emphasis and internal quotation marks omitted)). 121.Corley v. United States, 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). 122.Conn. Nat'l Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249, 253–5......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 cases
  • Al Bahlul v. United States, No. 11–1324.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 14, 2014
    ...to prosecute the enumerated crimes occurring on or before September 11, 2001 would be inoperative. See Corley v. United States, 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009) (“A statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be in......
  • U.S. Small Bus. Admin. v. Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Civ. No. 20-473 MV/GBW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 15, 2021
    ...renders these provisions superfluous and "is thus at odds with one of the most basic interpretive canons." Corley v. United States , 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009). 15 U.S.C. § 636(a)(36)(D)(i) is better read as "identify[ing] the types and size of organizations t......
  • S.C. Pub. Serv. Auth. v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm'n, Nos. 12–1232
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 15, 2014
    ...of gas pipeline construction matters: if it did, there would be no need for the separate provision. See Corley v. United States, 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009) (“[A] statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be......
  • Hedges v. Obama, Docket Nos. 12–3176 (Lead), 12–3644(Con).
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • July 17, 2013
    ...statutory interpretation is a holistic endeavor.” (emphasis and internal quotation marks omitted)). 121.Corley v. United States, 556 U.S. 303, 314, 129 S.Ct. 1558, 173 L.Ed.2d 443 (2009) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). 122.Conn. Nat'l Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249, 253–5......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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