Dickerson v U.S., 995525

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtRehnquist
Citation120 S.Ct. 2326,530 U.S. 428,147 L.Ed.2d 405
Docket Number995525
Decision Date26 June 2000
PartiesCHARLES THOMAS DICKERSON, PETITIONER v. UNITED STATESSUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

530 U.S. 428

120 S.Ct. 2326

147 L.Ed.2d 405

Supreme Court of the United States

Charles Thomas DICKERSON, Petitioner,

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 99–5525.Argued April 19, 2000.Decided June 26, 2000.

120 S.Ct. 2327
530 U.S. 428

Syllabus*

In the wake of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, in which the Court held that certain warnings must be given before a suspect's statement made during custodial interrogation could be admitted in evidence, id., at 479, 86 S.Ct. 1602, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501, which in essence makes the admissibility of such statements turn solely on whether they were made voluntarily. Petitioner, under indictment for bank robbery and related federal crimes, moved to suppress a statement he had made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on the ground he had not received “Miranda warnings” before being interrogated. The District Court granted his motion, and the Government took an interlocutory appeal.

120 S.Ct. 2328

In reversing, the Fourth Circuit acknowledged that petitioner had not received Miranda warnings, but held that § 3501 was satisfied because his statement was voluntary. It concluded that Miranda was not a constitutional holding, and that, therefore, Congress could by statute have the final say on the admissibility question.

Held: Miranda and its progeny in this Court govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts. Pp. 2330–2336.

(a) Miranda, being a constitutional decision of this Court, may not be in effect overruled by an Act of Congress. Given § 3501's express designation of voluntariness as the touchstone of admissibility, its omission of any warning requirement, and its instruction for trial courts to consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the giving of the confession, this Court agrees with the Fourth Circuit that Congress intended § 3501 to overrule Miranda. The law is clear as to whether Congress has constitutional authority to do so. This Court has supervisory authority over the federal courts to prescribe binding rules of evidence and procedure. Carlisle v. United States, 517 U.S. 416, 426, 116 S.Ct. 1460, 134 L.Ed.2d 613. While Congress has ultimate authority to modify or set aside any such rules that are not constitutionally required, e.g., Palermo v. United States, 360 U.S. 343, 345–348, 79 S.Ct. 1217, 3 L.Ed.2d 1287, it may not supersede this Court's decisions interpreting and applying the Constitution, see, e.g., City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507, 517–521, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 138 L.Ed.2d 624. That Miranda announced a constitutional rule is demonstrated, first and foremost, by the fact that both Miranda and two of its companion cases applied its rule to proceedings in state courts, and that the Court has consistently done

530 U.S. 429

so ever since. See, e.g., Stansbury v. California, 511 U.S. 318, 114 S.Ct. 1526, 128 L.Ed.2d 293 (per curiam). The Court does not hold supervisory power over the state courts, e.g., Smith v. Phillips, 455 U.S. 209, 221, 102 S.Ct. 940, 71 L.Ed.2d 78, as to which its authority is limited to enforcing the commands of the Constitution, e.g., Mu'Min v. Virginia, 500 U.S. 415, 422, 111 S.Ct. 1899, 114 L.Ed.2d 493. The conclusion that Miranda is constitutionally based is also supported by the fact that that case is replete with statements indicating that the majority thought it was announcing a constitutional rule, see, e.g., 384 U.S., at 445, 86 S.Ct. 1602. Although Miranda invited legislative action to protect the constitutional right against coerced self-incrimination, it stated that any legislative alternative must be “at least as effective in apprising accused persons of their right of silence and in assuring a continuous opportunity to exercise it.” Id., at 467, 86 S.Ct. 1602.

A contrary conclusion is not required by the fact that the Court has subsequently made exceptions from the Miranda rule, see, e.g., New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649, 104 S.Ct. 2626, 81 L.Ed.2d 550. No constitutional rule is immutable, and the sort of refinements made by such cases are merely a normal part of constitutional law. Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U.S. 298, 306, 105 S.Ct. 1285, 84 L.Ed.2d 222—in which the Court, in refusing to apply the traditional “fruits” doctrine developed in Fourth Amendment cases, stated that Miranda's exclusionary rule serves the Fifth Amendment and sweeps more broadly than that Amendment itself—does not prove that Miranda is a nonconstitutional decision, but simply recognizes the fact that unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment are different from unwarned interrogation under the Fifth. Finally, although the Court agrees with the court-appointed amicus curiae that there are more remedies available for abusive police conduct than there were when Miranda was decided—e.g., a suit under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619—it does not agree that such additional measures supplement § 3501's [120

S.Ct. 2329

protections sufficiently to create an adequate substitute for the Miranda warnings. Miranda requires procedures that will warn a suspect in custody of his right to remain silent and assure him that the exercise of that right will be honored, see, e.g., 384 U.S., at 467, 86 S.Ct. 1602, while § 3501 explicitly eschews a requirement of preinterrogation warnings in favor of an approach that looks to the administration of such warnings as only one factor in determining the voluntariness of a suspect's confession. Section 3501, therefore, cannot be sustained if Miranda is to remain the law. Pp. 2330–2336.

(b) This Court declines to overrule Miranda. Whether or not this Court would agree with Miranda's reasoning and its rule in the first instance, stare decisis weighs heavily against overruling it now. Even in constitutional cases, stare decisis carries such persuasive force that the Court has always required a departure from precedent to be supported by some special justification. E.g., United States v. International

530 U.S. 430

Business Machines Corp., 517 U.S. 843, 856, 116 S.Ct. 1793, 135 L.Ed.2d 124. There is no such justification here. Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture. See Mitchell v. United States, 526 U.S. 314, 331–332, 119 S.Ct. 1307, 143 L.Ed.2d 424. While the Court has overruled its precedents when subsequent cases have undermined their doctrinal underpinnings, that has not happened to Miranda. If anything, subsequent cases have reduced Miranda's impact on legitimate law enforcement while reaffirming the decision's core ruling. The rule's disadvantage is that it may result in a guilty defendant going free. But experience suggests that § 3501's totality-of-the-circumstances test is more difficult than Miranda for officers to conform to, and for courts to apply consistently. See, e.g., Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, 515, 83 S.Ct. 1336, 10 L.Ed.2d 513. The requirement that Miranda warnings be given does not dispense with the voluntariness inquiry, but cases in which a defendant can make a colorable argument that a self-incriminating statement was compelled despite officers' adherence to Miranda are rare. Pp. 2336–2337.

166 F.3d 667, reversed.

REHNQUIST, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEVENS, O'CONNOR, KENNEDY, SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS, J., joined, post, p. 2337.

Attorneys and Law Firms

James W. Hundley, appointed by the Court, Fairfax, VA, for petitioner.

Seth P. Waxman, Washington, DC, for respondent.

Paul G. Cassell, as amicus curiae at the invitation of the Court, Salt Lake City, UT, in support of the judgment below.

Opinion

530 U.S. 431

Chief Justice REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

In Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), we held that certain warnings must be given before a suspect's statement made during custodial interrogation could be admitted in

530 U.S. 432

evidence. In the wake of that decision, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501, which in essence laid down a rule that the admissibility of such statements should turn only on whether or not they were voluntarily made. We hold that Miranda, being a constitutional decision of this Court, may not be in effect overruled by an Act of Congress, and we decline to overrule Miranda ourselves. We therefore hold that Miranda and its progeny in this Court govern the admissibility of statements

120 S.Ct. 2330

made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts.

Petitioner Dickerson was indicted for bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and using a firearm in the course of committing a crime of violence, all in violation of the applicable provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code. Before trial, Dickerson moved to suppress a statement he had made at a Federal Bureau of Investigation field office, on the grounds that he had not received “Miranda warnings” before being interrogated. The District Court granted his motion to suppress, and the Government took an interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. That court, by a divided vote, reversed the District Court's suppression order. It agreed with the District Court's conclusion that petitioner had not received Miranda warnings before making his statement. But it went on to hold that § 3501, which in effect makes the admissibility of statements such as Dickerson's turn solely on whether they were made voluntarily, was satisfied in this case. It then concluded that our decision in Miranda was not a constitutional holding, and that, therefore, Congress could by statute have the final say on the question of admissibility. 166 F.3d 667 (1999).

Because of the importance of the questions raised by the Court of Appeals' decision, we granted certiorari,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1980 practice notes
  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 5, 2009
    ...the suspect, especially if state and federal authorities are conducting simultaneous investigations. 11 See Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 438, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000) (holding that "the protections announced in Miranda" are "constitutionally required"); Shea v. Lo......
  • New Orleans Depot Servs., Inc. v. Dir., Office of Worker's Comp. Programs, No. 11–60057.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 29, 2013
    ...Winchester, 632 F.2d at 507. I would not disturb our decision in Winchester because it is time-settled, cf. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000); because it was authored by a majority of judges who were contemporaries with the statute they were in......
  • U.S. v. Ho, No. 01-20460.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • October 31, 2002
    ...of the law is no defense." It is as much a part of "our national culture" as are the Miranda warnings. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 443, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000). Our criminal laws typically express this maxim with the "knowing" degree of scienter. The Supreme Cou......
  • Dist. Attorney's Office for the Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne, No. 08–6.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 18, 2009
    ...underlying requirement at issue in that case that confessions be voluntary had “roots” going back centuries. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 432–433, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000). In contrast, the asserted right to access DNA evidence is unrooted in history or tradition,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1976 cases
  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 5, 2009
    ...the suspect, especially if state and federal authorities are conducting simultaneous investigations. 11 See Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 438, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000) (holding that "the protections announced in Miranda" are "constitutionally required"); Shea v. Lo......
  • New Orleans Depot Servs., Inc. v. Dir., Office of Worker's Comp. Programs, No. 11–60057.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 29, 2013
    ...Winchester, 632 F.2d at 507. I would not disturb our decision in Winchester because it is time-settled, cf. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000); because it was authored by a majority of judges who were contemporaries with the statute they were in......
  • U.S. v. Ho, No. 01-20460.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • October 31, 2002
    ...of the law is no defense." It is as much a part of "our national culture" as are the Miranda warnings. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 443, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000). Our criminal laws typically express this maxim with the "knowing" degree of scienter. The Supreme Cou......
  • Dist. Attorney's Office for the Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne, No. 08–6.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 18, 2009
    ...underlying requirement at issue in that case that confessions be voluntary had “roots” going back centuries. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 432–433, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405 (2000). In contrast, the asserted right to access DNA evidence is unrooted in history or tradition,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 firm's commentaries
  • By 6-3 vote, SCOTUS rules <em>Miranda</em> violations cannot provide a basis for § 1983 suit
    • United States
    • LexBlog United States
    • June 23, 2022
    ...derive from the Constitution: Dickerson v. United States tells us in no uncertain terms that Miranda is a “constitutional rule.” 530 U.S. 428, 444 (2000). And that rule grants a corresponding right: If police fail to provide the Miranda warnings to a suspect before interrogating him, then h......
  • Warning You Of Your Right To Remain Silent Is Not A Right After All
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • July 19, 2022
    ...decades of precedent that, at least for the current generation, has always been the law. Footnotes 1. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 443 (2000). 2. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). 3. See id. at 443-44 ("Whether or not we would agree with Miranda's reasoning and its resul......
  • Supreme Court Declines To Allow Miranda Violations As A Basis For A 42 U.S.C. ' 1983 Claim
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • July 11, 2022
    ...the Fifth Amendment and may support a ' 1983 claim[.]" In making its finding, the Ninth Circuit relied on Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, reasoning that Dickerson "made clear that the right of a criminal defendant against having an un-Mirandized statement introduced in the prosecu......
17 books & journal articles
  • SEARCHING FOR TRUTH IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT'S TRUE THREAT DOCTRINE.
    • United States
    • Michigan Law Review Vol. 120 Nbr. 4, February 2022
    • February 1, 2022
    ...(189.) Brief for Appellant, supra note 182, at 13. (190.) SeeKnox, 190 A.3d at 1161. (191.) See, e.g., Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428,434 (2000) (holding that due-process test for evaluating voluntariness of defendant's confession takes into consideration the totality of the surro......
  • Rights, Structure, and Remediation: The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 7, May 2022
    • May 1, 2022
    ...J. Markman, Miranda v. Arizona: A Historical Perspective, 24 AM. CRIM. L. REV. 193, 204-05, 218 (1986). (70.) Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 450 (2000) (Scalia, J., (71.) HUQ, supra note 2, at 94. (72.) Id. at 3, 8. (73.) Id. at 17. (74.) See, e.g., Thomas M. Cooley, Limits to St......
  • THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT AT (ALMOST) FIFTY: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
    • United States
    • Ave Maria Law Review Nbr. 18, January 2020
    • January 1, 2020
    ...(1990), which held that a general law of neutral application may not be challenged on free exercise grounds); Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000) (striking down provision in Congressional statute purporting to abrogate the rules set forth in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (196......
  • JANUS-FACED JUDGING: HOW THE SUPREME COURT IS RADICALLY WEAKENING STARE DECISIS.
    • United States
    • October 1, 2020
    ...means that in some cases, recent decisions take priority." Id. (second alteration in original) (quoting Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 443 (31.) See, e.g., W. F. Kuzenski, Stare Decisis, 6 MARQ. L. REV. 65, 66 (1922) ("The origin of the doctrine of stare decisis is lost......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT