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Self-Incrimination and Miranda: Where Are We Now?

NCJ Number
Prosecutor Volume: 21 Issue: 3 Dated: (Winter 1988) Pages: 33-40
J M Miller
Date Published
8 pages
This paper reviews court cases interpreting Federal procedural standards governing applicability of the privilege of self-incrimination, with particular attention to the now numerous exceptions to Miranda.
The first cases cited show that the privilege against self-incrimination protects against compelling testimonial evidence only. Other issues addressed include witness versus defendant privileges and types of immunity. Rulings which governed preindictment interrogation prior to Miranda v. Arizona are described, as are the four cases considered together which constituted the 1966 Miranda case. The analyses of Miranda focuses on custody, interrogation, and waiver of Miranda rights. Exclusions are explained, including exigency, impeachment, Terry stops, private parties, civil proceedings, trickery, harmless error, and attentuation. The paper concludes that the privilege against compelled self-incrimination requires that prior to interrogation when the suspect is not in custody, there be voluntariness. Once there is custody, the Miranda warnings must be given. Limits placed on the broad Miranda holding suggest that some day the rule may be only a presumption, not an irrebuttable presumption. 56 footnotes.