The case was decided 5 to 4. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the Court.
The cases before us raise questions which go to the roots of our
concepts of American criminal jurisprudence: the restraints society must
observe consistent with the Federal Constitution in prosecuting
individuals for crime. More specifically, we deal with the admissibility
of statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial
police interrogation and the necessity for procedures which assure that
the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to
the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself. . . .
Our holding will be spelled out with some specificity in the pages
which follow but briefly stated it is this: the prosecution may not use
statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial
interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of
procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against
self-incrimination. By custodial interrogation, we mean questioning
initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into
custody. . . . As for the procedural safeguards to be employed . . .
the following measures are required. Prior to any questioning, the
person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any
statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he
has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or
appointed. The defendant may waive effectuation of these rights,
provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently.
If, however, he indicates in any manner and at any stage of the process
that he wishes to consult with an attorney before speaking there can be
no questioning. Likewise, if the individual is alone and indicates in
any manner that he does not wish to be interrogated, the police may not
question him. The mere fact that he may have answered some questions or
volunteered some statements on his own does not deprive him of the right
to refrain from answering any further inquiries until he has consulted
with an attorney and thereafter consents to be questioned. . . .
The Fifth Amendment privilege is so fundamental to our system of
constitutional rule and the expedient of giving an adequate warning as
to the availability of the privilege so simple, we will not pause to
inquire in individual cases whether the defendant was aware of his
rights without a warning being given. . . .The warning of the right to
remain silent must be accompanied by the explanation that anything said
can and will be used against the individual in court. This warning is
needed in order to make him aware not only of the privilege, but also of
the consequences of forgoing it. . . . [T]his warning may serve to make
the individual more acutely aware that he is faced with a phase of the
adversary system-that he is not in the presence of persons acting solely
in his interests. . . .
. . . [W]e hold that an individual held for interrogation must be
clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to
have the lawyer with him during interrogation under the system for
protecting the privilege we delineate today. . . . No amount of
circumstantial evidence that the person may have been aware of this
right will suffice to stand in its stead: Only through such a warning is
there ascertainable assurance that the accused was aware of this right.
If an individual indicates that he wishes the assistance of counsel
before any interrogation occurs, the authorities cannot rationally
ignore or deny his request on the basis that the individual does not
have or cannot afford a retained attorney. . . . The privilege against
self-incrimination secured by the Constitution applies to all
individuals. The need for counsel in order to protect the privilege
exists for the indigent as well as the affluent. . . .
The principles announced today deal with the protection which must be
given to the privilege against self-incrimination when the individual
is first subjected to police interrogation while in custody at the
station or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any
significant way. It is at this point that our adversary system of
criminal proceedings commences, distinguishing itself at the outset from
the inquisitorial system recognized in some countries. Under the system
of warnings we delineate today or under any other system which may be
devised and found effective, the safeguards to be erected about the
privilege must come into play at this point. . . . . . . [W]e hold that
when an individual is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his
freedom by the authorities in any significant way and is subjected to
questioning, the privilege against self-incrimination is jeopardized. . .
Questions to Consider
According to Chief Justice Warren, what fundamental questions does this case raise about the American justice system?
What does he mean by "custodial interrogation"?
Why does he say that we should not rely on asking individuals
whether they are aware of their rights without a warning being given?
What does Chief Justice Warren say the police have to do to ensure due process?
Do you agree that when a person is taken into custody and subjected
to questioning, the privilege against self-incrimination is jeopardized
unless explicit warnings are given about rights? Why or why not? Should
there be any exceptions to this rule? Explain.