Withrow v. Williams
507 U.S. 680 (1993)

Annotate this Case

OCTOBER TERM, 1992

Syllabus

WITHROW v. WILLIAMS

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

No. 91-1030. Argued November 3, 1992-Decided April 21, 1993

Mter a police sergeant threatened to "lock [him] up" during a station house interrogation about a double murder, respondent Williams made inculpatory statements. He was then advised of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, waived those rights, and made more inculpatory statements. The Michigan trial court declined to suppress his statements on the ground that he had been given timely Miranda warnings, and he was convicted of first-degree murder and related crimes. Williams subsequently commenced this habeas action pro se, alleging a Miranda violation as his principal ground for relief. The District Court granted relief, finding that all statements made between the sergeant's incarceration threat and Williams' receipt of Miranda warnings should have been suppressed. Without conducting an evidentiary hearing or entertaining argument, the court also ruled that the statements Williams made after receiving the Miranda warnings should have been suppressed as involuntary under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court of Appeals agreed on both points and affirmed, summarily rejecting the argument that the rule in Stone v. Powell, 428 U. S. 465-that when a State has given a full and fair chance to litigate a Fourth Amendment claim, federal habeas review is not available to a state prisoner alleging that his conviction rests on evidence obtained through an unconstitutional search or seizure-should apply to bar habeas review of Williams' Miranda claim.

Held:

1. Stone's restriction on the exercise of federal habeas jurisdiction does not extend to a state prisoner's claim that his conviction rests on statements obtained in violation of the Miranda safeguards. The Stone rule was not jurisdictional in nature, but was based on prudential concerns counseling against applying the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule of Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643, on collateral review. Miranda differs from Mapp with respect to such concerns, and Stone consequently does not apply. In contrast to Mapp, Miranda safeguards a fundamental trial right by protecting a defendant's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Moreover, Miranda facilitates the correct ascertainment of guilt by guarding against the use of unreliable statements at trial. Finally, and most importantly, eliminating review of


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Miranda claims would not significantly benefit the federal courts in their exercise of habeas jurisdiction, or advance the cause of federalism in any substantial way. The burdens placed on busy federal courts would not be lightened, since it is reasonable to suppose that virtually every barred Miranda claim would simply be recast as a due process claim that the particular conviction rested on an involuntary confession. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to expect that, after 27 years of Miranda, the overturning of state convictions on the basis of that case will occur frequently enough to be a substantial cost of review or to raise federal-state tensions to an appreciable degree. Pp. 686-695.

2. The District Court erred in considering the involuntariness of the statements Williams made after receiving the Miranda warnings. The habeas petition raised no independent due process claim, and the record is devoid of any indication that petitioner consented under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(b) to the determination of such a claim. Moreover, petitioner was manifestly prejudiced by the court's failure to afford her an opportunity to present evidence bearing on that claim's resolution. pp. 695-696.

944 F.2d 284, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

SOUTER, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court with respect to Part III, and the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and IV, in which WHITE, BLACKMUN, STEVENS, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. O'CONNOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which REHNQUIST, C. J., joined, post, p. 697. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which THOMAS, J., joined, post, p.715.

Jeffrey Caminsky argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were John D. O'Hair and Timothy A. Baughman.

Deputy Solicitor General Roberts argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Starr, Assistant Attorney General Mueller, and Ronald J. Mann.

Seth P. Waxman, by appointment of the Court, 504 U. S. 983, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Scott L. Nelson and Daniel P. O'Neil. *

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the State of California et al. by Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General of California, George Williamson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Donald E. De Nicola,


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Full Text of Opinion

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