Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oliver on Miranda-Like Rules in the 19th Century

Wes Oliver, Widener, has posted an article that just appeared in the Tulane Law Review, Magistrates' Examinations, Police Interrogations, and Miranda-Like Rules in the Nineteenth Century. Here's the abstract:
The New York legislature in the early-nineteenth century began to require interrogators to warn suspects of their right to silence and counsel. The Warren Court, in Miranda v. Arizona, did not invent the language of the warnings; rather, it resurrected the warnings that were no longer given in New York after the latter half of the nineteenth century. The confessions rule, a judicially created rule of evidence much like the modern voluntariness rule, excluded many statements if any threat or inducement was made to the suspect. Courts in the early-nineteenth century, however, were willing to accept confessions notwithstanding an improper inducement if the suspect had been given the now-famous warnings. The warnings remained in place until the newly elected New York judiciary began to retreat from the strict version of the confessions rule that prompted interrogators to give those warnings. The threat of losing statements to the confessions rule was greater than the threat that suspects would exercise the rights of which police advised them - at least until the judiciary substantially weakened the confessions rule.