Michigan v. Tucker 8212 482, No. 73

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREHNQUIST
Citation94 S.Ct. 2357,41 L.Ed.2d 182,417 U.S. 433
PartiesState of MICHIGAN, Petitioner, v. Thomas W. TUCKER. —482
Docket NumberNo. 73
Decision Date10 June 1974

417 U.S. 433
94 S.Ct. 2357
41 L.Ed.2d 182
State of MICHIGAN, Petitioner,


Thomas W. TUCKER.

No. 73—482.
Argued March 20, 1974.
Decided June 10, 1974.


Respondent, who had been arrested for rape, was questioned by police. Before the commencement of the interrogation (which antedated this Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694), respondent was advised of his right to remain silent and his right to counsel (but not of his right to the appointment of counsel if he was indigent). Respondent related an alibi that he was with a friend (Henderson), at the time of the crime, but the police later elicited from Henderson information tending to incriminate respondent. Before trial, respondent made a motion to exclude Henderson's expected testimony because respondent had revealed Henderson's identity without having received the full warnings mandated by the intervening Miranda decision. The motion was denied, Henderson testified, and respondent was convicted. Following affirmance on appeal, respondent sought habeas corpus relief, which the District Court granted, finding that Henderson's testimony was inadmissible because of the Miranda violation. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Held:

1. The police conduct in this case, though failing to afford respondent the full measure of procedural safeguards later set forth in Miranda, did not deprive respondent of his privilege against self-incrimination since the record clearly shows that respondent's statements during the police interrogation were not involuntary or the result of potential legal sanctions. Pp. 446 452.

2. The evidence derived from the police interrogation was admissible. Pp. 446—452.

(a) The police's pre-Miranda failure to advise respondent of his right to appointed counsel under all the circumstances of this case involved no bad faith and would not justify recourse to the exclusionary rule which is aimed at deterring willful or negligent deprivation of the accused's rights. Pp. 446—448.

(b) The failure to advise respondent of his right to appointed counsel had no bearing upon the reliability of Henderson's testimony, which was subjected to the normal testing process of an adversary trial. Pp. 448—449.

Page 434

(c) The use of the testimony of a witness discovered by the police as a result of the accused's statements under these circumstances does not violate any requirements under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments relating to the adversary system. Pp. 449—450.

480 F.2d 927, reversed.

L. Brooks Patterson, for petitioner.

Edward R. Korman, for the United States, an amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

Kenneth M. Mogill, Detroit, Mich., for respondent, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court.

Roman S. Gribbs, Detroit, Mich., for the Detroit Bar Association, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

Page 435

Mr. Justice REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the question whether the testimony of a witness in respondent's state court trial for rape must be excluded simply because police had learned the identity of the witness by questioning respondent at a time when he was in custody as a suspect, but had not been advised that counsel would be appointed for him if he was indigent. The questioning took place before this Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), but respondent's trial, at which he was convicted, took place afterwards. Under the holding of Johnson v. New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882 (1966), therefore, Miranda is applicable to this case. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan reviewed respondent's claim on a petition for habeas corpus and held that the testimony must be excluded.1 The Court of Appeals affirmed.2


On the morning of April 19, 1966, a 43-year-old woman in Pontiac, Michigan was found in her home by a friend and coworker, Luther White, in serious condition. At the time she was found the woman was tied, gagged, and partially disrobed, and had been both raped and severely beaten. She was unable to tell White anything about her assault at that time and still remains unable to recollect what happened.

While White was attempting to get medical help for the victim and to call for the police, he observed a dog inside the house. This apparently attracted White's attention for he knew that the woman did not own a dog

Page 436

herself. Later, when talking with police officers, White observed the dog a second time, and police followed the dog to respondent's house. Neighbors further connected the dog with respondent.

The police then arrested respondent and brought him to the police station for questioning. Prior to the actual interrogation the police asked respondent whether he knew for what crime he had been arrested, whether he wanted an attorney, and whether he understood his constitutional rights.3 Respondent replied that he did understand the crime for which he was arrested, that he did not want an attorney, and that he understood his rights.4 The police further advised him that any statements he might make could be used against him at a later date in court.5 The police, however, did not advise respondent that he would be furnished counsel free of charge if he could not pay for such services himself.

The police then questioned respondent about his activities on the night of the rape and assault. Respondent replied that during the general time period at issue he had first been with one Robert Henderson and then later at home, alone, asleep. The police sought to confirm this story by contacting Henderson, but Henderson's story served to discredit rather than to bolster respondent's account. Henderson acknowledged that respondent had been with him on the night of the crime but said that he had left at a relatively early time. Furthermore, Henderson told police that he saw respondent the following day and asked him at that time about scratches on his face—'asked him if he got hold of a wild one or something.'6 Respondent answered: '(S)omething like

Page 437

that.'7 Then, Henderson said, he asked respondent 'who it was,'8 and respondent said: '(S)ome woman lived the next block over,'9 adding: 'She is a widow woman' or words to that effect.10

These events all occurred prior to the date on which this Court handed down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, supra, but respondent's trial occurred afterwards. Prior to trial respondent's appointed counsel made a motion to exclude Henderson's expected testimony because respondent had revealed Henderson's identity without having received full Miranda warnings. Although respondent's own statements taken during interrogation were excluded, the trial judge denied the motion to exclude Henderson's testimony. Henderson therefore testified at trial, and respondent was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 to 40 years' imprisonment. His conviction was affirmed by both the Michigan Court of Appeals11 and the Michigan Supreme Court.12

Respondent then sought habeas corpus relief in Federal District Court. That court, noting that respondent had not received the full Miranda warnings and that the police had stipulated Henderson's identity was learned only through respondent's answers, 'reluctantly' concluded that Henderson's testimony could not be admitted.13 Application of such an exclusionary rule was necessary, the court reasoned, to protect respondent's Fifth Amendment right against compulsory self-incrimination. The court therefore granted respondent's petition for a writ of habeas corpus unless petitioner

Page 438

retried respondent within 90 days. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. We granted certiorari, 414 U.S. 1062, 94 S.Ct. 568, 38 L.Ed.2d 467 (1973), and now reverse.


Although respondent's sole complaint is that the police failed to advise him that he would be given free counsel if unable to afford counsel himself, he did not, and does not now, base his arguments for relief on a right to counsel under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. Nor was the right to counsel, as such, considered to be persuasive by either federal court below. We do not have a situation such as that presented in Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964), where the policemen interrogating the suspect had refused his repeated requests to see his lawyer who was then present at the police station. As we have noted previously, Escobedo is not to be broadly extended beyond the facts of that particular case. See Johnson v. New Jersey, 384 U.S., at 733—734, 86 S.Ct., at 1780 1781; Kirby v. Illinois, 406 U.S. 682, 689, 92 S.Ct. 1877, 1882, 32 L.Ed.2d 411 (1972); Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 739, 89 S.Ct. 1420, 1424, 22 L.Ed.2d 684 (1969). This case also falls outside the rationale of United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 224, 87 S.Ct. 1926, 1930, 18 L.Ed.2d 1149 (1967), where the Court held that counsel was needed at a post-indictment lineup in order to protect the 'right to a fair trial at which the witnesses against (the defendant) might be meaningfully cross-examined.' Henderson was fully available for searching cross-examination at respondent's trial.

Respondent's argument, and the opinions of the District Court and Court of Appeals, instead rely upon the Fifth Amendment right against compulsory self-incrimination and the safeguards designed in Miranda to secure that right. In brief, the position urged upon this Court is that proper regard for the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination requires, with limited exceptions not

Page 439

applicable here, that all evidence derived solely from statements made without full Miranda warnings be excluded at a subsequent criminal trial. For purposes of analysis in this case we believe that the question thus presented is best examined in two separate parts. We will therefore...

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