from Chapter 2
Miranda and the Arizona Supreme Court
Except from pages 40-42
Moore also appealed Miranda’s conviction on the rape and robbery of
Patricia Doe. The Arizona Supreme Court took twenty-one pages to reject
all of the claims of error. The only constitutional issue preserved by
Moore for appeal was the core issue in the case: Miranda’s confession.
Justice Ernest McFarland wrote the opinion summarily rejecting Miranda’s
claim that his confession was improperly received in evidence.
Detectives Young and Cooley had testified that “they had informed him of
his legal rights and that any statement he made might be used against
Justice McFarland noted that Moore’s only objection to the admission of
the written confession had been, “We are objecting because the Supreme
Court of the United States says the man is entitled to an attorney at
the time of his arrest.” There was no objection on the proper ground,
which was that Miranda’s statement was not made voluntarily, and Moore
had not requested that the trial judge determine the voluntariness of
the statement. Since the voluntariness and the truth of the confession
were not in question, the Arizona Supreme Court saw the sole question
before it as “Whether there was a violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the Constitution by the admission of the voluntary
statement made without an attorney.”
In passing on constitutional provisions, the Arizona Supreme Court is
bound to follow the interpretations of the United States Supreme Court.
Accordingly, it duly examined the recent decisions in Massiah v.
United States and Escobedo v. Illinois.
The court noted that Massiah, which involved a wiretap between
two codefendants, was not on point. It had more trouble dismissing
Escobedo but ultimately found it inapplicable as well, because,
unlike Danny Escobedo, Ernesto Miranda had been advised of his rights.
“He had not requested counsel,” the court noted, “and had not been
denied assistance of counsel. We further call attention to the fact
that, as pointed out in the companion case here on appeal, State v.
Miranda, No. 1397 [the robbery case] defendant Miranda had a record,
which indicated he was not without courtroom experience.”
In working its way to its holding in Miranda’s appeal, the Arizona
Supreme Court also queried rhetorically, “What is the purpose of the
right to counsel? What is the purpose of the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments?” Observing that California had just extended Escobedo
to cases in which the defendant had not asked for a lawyer, the court
asserted that state courts are not bound to follow one another, and the
Arizona court “did not choose to follow” California’s lead.
The Arizona Supreme Court’s holding was a masterpiece of directness: “We
hold that a confession may be admissible when made without an attorney
if it is voluntary and does not violate the constitutional rights of
defendant.” This direct holding was to prove helpful to Miranda at the
next level of appeal.