Use of admissions at petitioner's trial for murder which were
obtained by officers who, while he was in their custody in his
bedroom at the boardinghouse where he lived, questioned him about
incriminating facts without first informing him of his rights to
remain silent, to have a lawyer's advice before making a statement,
and to have lawyer appointed to assist him if he could not afford
to hire one, held
to have violated Self-Incrimination
Clause of Fifth Amendment made applicable to the States by the
Fourteenth. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.
(1966). Pp. 394 U. S.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.
The petitioner, Reyes Arias Orozco, was convicted in the
Criminal District Court of Dallas County, Texas, of murder without
malice and was sentenced to serve in the state prison not less than
two nor more than 10 years. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
affirmed the conviction, rejecting petitioner's contention that a
material part of the evidence against him was obtained in violation
of the provision of the Fifth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth
Amendment, that: "No person
Page 394 U. S. 325
. . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
against himself." [Footnote
The evidence introduced at trial showed that petitioner and the
deceased had quarreled outside the El Farleto Cafe in Dallas
shortly before midnight on the date of the shooting. The deceased
had apparently spoken to petitioner's female companion inside the
restaurant. In the heat of the quarrel outside, the deceased is
said to have beaten petitioner about the face and called him
"Mexican Grease." A shot was fired killing the deceased. Petitioner
left the scene and returned to his boardinghouse to sleep. At about
4 a.m. four police officers arrived at petitioner's boardinghouse,
were admitted by an unidentified woman, and were told that
petitioner was asleep in the bedroom. All four officers entered the
bedroom and began to question petitioner. From the moment he gave
his name, according to the testimony of one of the officers,
petitioner was not free to go where he pleased, but was "under
arrest." The officers asked him if he had been to the El Farleto
restaurant that night and when he answered "yes" he was asked if he
owned a pistol. Petitioner admitted owning one. After being asked a
second time where the pistol was located, he admitted that it was
in the washing machine in a back room of the boardinghouse.
Ballistics tests indicated that the gun found in the washing
machine was the gun that fired the fatal shot. At petitioner's
trial, held after the effective date [Footnote 2
] of this Court's decision in Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U. S. 436
(1966), the trial court allowed one of the officers,
Page 394 U. S. 326
over the objection of petitioner's lawyer, [Footnote 3
] to relate the statements made by
petitioner concerning the gun and petitioner's presence at the
scene of the shooting. The trial testimony clearly shows that the
officers questioned petitioner about incriminating facts without
first informing him of his right to remain silent, his right to
have the advice of a lawyer before making any statement, and his
right to have a lawyer appointed to assist him if he could not
afford to hire one. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held, with
one judge dissenting, that the admission of testimony concerning
the statements petitioner had made without the above warnings was
not precluded by Miranda.
We disagree, and hold that the
use of these admissions obtained in the absence of the required
warnings was a flat violation of the Self-Incrimination Clause of
the Fifth Amendment as construed in Miranda.
The State has argued here that, since petitioner was
interrogated on his own bed, in familiar surroundings, our
holding should not apply. It is true that the
Court did say in Miranda
"compulsion to speak in the isolated setting of the police
station may well be greater than in courts or other official
investigations, where there are often impartial observers to guard
against intimidation or trickery."
384 U.S. at 384 U. S. 461
But the opinion iterated and reiterated the absolute necessity for
officers interrogating people "in custody" to give the described
warnings. See Mathis v. United States, 391 U. S.
Page 394 U. S. 327
(1968). According to the officer's testimony, petitioner was
under arrest, and not free to leave, when he was questioned in his
bedroom in the early hours of the morning. The Miranda
opinion declared that the warnings were required when the person
being interrogated was "in custody at the station or otherwise
deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.
U.S. at 384 U. S. 477
(Emphasis supplied.) The decision of this Court in Miranda
was reached after careful consideration, and lengthy opinions were
announced by both the majority and dissenting Justices. There is no
need to canvass those arguments again. We do not, as the dissent
implies, expand or extend to the slightest extent our
decision. We do adhere to our well considered
holding in that case, and therefore reverse [Footnote 4
] the conviction below.
MR. JUSTICE FORTAS took no part in the consideration or decision
of this case.
The state court also rejected a contention that use of the
evidence also violated the Fourth Amendment's provision against
unreasonable searches and seizures. Our holding makes it
unnecessary for us to consider that contention.
See Johnson v. New Jersey, 384 U.
The State appears to urge that petitioners Miranda
claim is unreviewable in this Court because the objection made by
trial counsel to the officer's testimony was not sufficiently
"specific." We fail to perceive how this could be an adequate state
ground in view of the fact that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
specifically decided that the introduction of petitioners statement
made to the officers "was not precluded under Miranda v. State
, 672, while the dissenting judge thought that it
In light of some apparent misunderstanding on this point, it is
perhaps appropriate to point out once again that a reversal by this
Court of a conviction based in part on unconstitutional evidence
leaves the State free to retry the defendant without the tainted
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, concurring.
The passage of time has not made the Miranda
more palatable to me than it was when the case was decided.
my dissenting opinion, and that of MR. JUSTICE WHITE,
in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436
384 U. S. 504
384 U. S. 526
Yet, despite my strong inclination to join in the dissent of my
Brother WHITE, I can find no acceptable avenue of escape from
in judging this case, especially in light of
Mathis v. United States, 391 U. S. 1
which has already extended the Miranda
Page 394 U. S. 328
police station, over the protest of JUSTICES STEWART, WHITE, and
at 391 U. S. 5
Therefore, and purely out of respect for stare decisis,
reluctantly feel compelled to acquiesce in today's decision of the
Court, at the same time observing that the constitutional
condemnation of this perfectly understandable, sensible, proper,
and indeed commendable piece of police work highlights the
unsoundness of Miranda.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom MR. JUSTICE STEWART joins,
This decision carries the rule of Miranda v. Arizona,
384 U. S. 436
(1966), to a new and unwarranted extreme. I continue to believe
that the original rule amounted to a "constitutional straitjacket"
on law enforcement which was justified neither by the words or
history of the Constitution, nor by any reasonable view of the
likely benefits of the rule as against its disadvantages. 384 U.S.
at 384 U. S. 526
Even accepting Miranda,
the Court extends the rule here
and draws the straitjacket even tighter.
The opinion of the Court in Miranda
was devoted in
large part to an elaborate discussion of the subtle forms of
psychological pressure which could be brought to bear when an
accused person is interrogated at length in unfamiliar
surroundings. The "salient features" of the cases decided in
were "incommunicado interrogation of individuals
in a police-dominated atmosphere." 384 U.S. at 384 U. S. 445
The danger was that, in such circumstances the confidence of the
prisoner could be eroded by techniques such as successive
interrogations by police acting out friendly or unfriendly roles.
These techniques are best developed in "isolation and unfamiliar
surroundings," 384 U.S. at
384 U. S. 450
. And they take time: "the major qualities
an interrogator should possess are patience and perseverance."
Page 394 U. S. 329
of an extended period of isolation, repeated interrogation,
cajolery, and trickery often enough produced admissions which were
actually coerced in the traditional sense so that new safeguards
were deemed essential.
It is difficult to believe that the requirements there laid down
were essential to prevent compulsion in every conceivable case of
station house interrogation. Where the defendant himself as a
lawyer, policeman, professional criminal, or otherwise has become
aware of what his right to silence is, it is sheer fancy to assert
that his answer to every question asked him is compelled unless he
is advised of those rights with which he is already intimately
familiar. If there is any warrant to Miranda
at all, it
rests on the likelihood that, in a sufficient number of cases
exposure to station house practices will result in compelled
confessions and that additional safeguards should be imposed in all
cases to prevent possible erosion of Fifth Amendment values. Hence,
the detailed ritual which Miranda
The Court now extends the same rules to all instances of
in-custody questioning outside the station house. Once arrest
occurs, the application of Miranda
is automatic. The rule
is simple but it ignores the purpose of Miranda
against what was thought to be the corrosive influence of practices
which station house interrogation makes feasible. The Court wholly
ignores the question whether similar hazards exist or even are
possible when police arrest and interrogate on the spot, whether it
be on the street corner or in the home, as in this case. No
predicate is laid for believing that practices outside the station
house are normally prolonged, carried out in isolation, or often
productive of the physical or psychological coercion made so much
of in Miranda.
It is difficult to imagine the police
duplicating in a person's home or on the street those conditions
Page 394 U. S. 330
which the Court found prevalent in the station house and which
were thought so threatening to the right to silence. Without such a
hardly reaches this case or any
cases similar to it.
Here, there was no prolonged interrogation, no unfamiliar
surroundings, no opportunity for the police to invoke those
procedures which moved the majority in Miranda.
the conversation was, by all accounts, a very brief one. According
to uncontradicted testimony, petitioner was awake when the officers
entered his room, and they asked him four questions: his name,
whether he had been at the El Farleto, whether he owned a pistol,
and where it was. He gave his name, said he had been at the El
Farleto, and admitted he owned a pistol without hesitation. He was
slow in telling where the pistol was, and the question was
repeated. He then took the police to the nearby washing machine
where the gun was hidden.
It is unquestioned that this sequence of events in their
totality would not constitute coercion in the traditional sense or
lead any court to view the admissions as involuntary within the
meaning of the rules by which we even now adjudicate claims of
coercion relating to pre-Miranda
realistically, had Orozco refused to answer the questions asked of
him, it seems most unlikely that prolonged interrogation would have
followed in petitioner's own quarters; nothing similar to the
station house model invoked by the court would have occurred here.
The police had petitioner's name and description, had ample
evidence that he had been at the night club and suspected that he
had a gun. Surely, had he refused to give his name or answer any
other questions, they would have arrested him anyway, searched the
house and found the gun, which would have been clearly admissible
under all relevant authorities. But the Court insists that this
case be reversed for failure to give Miranda
I cannot accept the dilution of the custody requirements of
to this level, where the hazards to the
Page 394 U. S. 331
right to silence are so equivocal and unsupported by experience
in a recurring number of cases. Orozco was apprehended in the most
familiar quarters, the questioning was brief, and no admissions
were made which were not backed up by other evidence. This case
does not involve the confession of an innocent man, or even of a
guilty man from whom a confession has been wrung by physical abuse
or the modern psychological methods discussed in Miranda.
These are simply the terse remarks of a man who has been caught,
almost in the act. Even if there were reason to encourage suspects
to consult lawyers to tell them to be silent before quizzing at the
station house, there is no reason why police in the field should
have to preface every casual question of a suspect with the full
panoply of Miranda
warnings. The same danger of coercion
is simply not present in such circumstances, and the answers to the
questions may as often clear a suspect as help convict him. If the
warnings have their intended effect, and the
police are able to get no answers from suspects, innocent or
guilty, without arresting them, then a great many more innocent men
will be making unnecessary trips to the station house. Ultimately
it may be necessary to arrest a man, bring him to the police
station, and provide a lawyer, just to discover his name. Even if
the man is innocent, the process will be an unpleasant one.
Since the Court's extension of Miranda's
rule takes it
into territory where even what rationale there originally was
disappears, I dissent.
Memorandum of MR. JUSTICE STEWART.
Although there is much to be said for MR. JUSTICE HARLAN's
position, I join my Brother WHITE in dissent. It seems to me that
those of us who dissented in Miranda v. Arizona,
384 U. S. 436
remain free not only to express our continuing disagreement with
that decision, but also to oppose any broadening of its impact.