Oregon v. Elstad 470 U.S. 298 (1985)

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OREGON v. ELSTAD 470 U.S. 298 (1985)

The Supreme Court reaffirmed miranda v. arizona (1966) yet made another exception to it. For a 6–3 majority, Justice sandra day o'connor held that initial failure to comply with the miranda rules does not taint a second confession made after a suspect has received the required warnings and has waived his rights. In this case the suspect had not blurted out an incriminating statement before police questioned him. They arrested him, with a warrant, at his home and began an interrogation without advising him of his rights. He confessed. They took him to the station and gave him the warnings, but they did not inform him that his prior confession could not be used against him as proof of his guilt. O'Connor, commenting that a contrary decision might "disable the police," ruled that the second confession need not be suppressed because of the illegality of the first. She treated the illegal confession as if it had been voluntarily made. Her focus on the voluntariness of that initial confession suggested that if coercion had then been present, it would have tainted a second confession made after the Miranda warnings. The Court, therefore, reaffirmed Miranda. Nevertheless, the case taught that the police may ignore Miranda, secure a confession, and then give the warnings in the hope of getting an admissible confession once the suspect thinks "the cat is out of the bag." Justice william j. brennan savaged the Court's opinion in a dissent that O'Connor claimed had an "apocalyptic tone" and distorted much of what she had said. She denied Brennan's accusation that the majority's opinion had a "crippling" effect on Miranda.

Leonard W. Levy

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Oregon v. Elstad 470 U.S. 298 (1985)

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