Foreword By Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
Table of Contents
  Miranda's Confession
  Right to Counsel
  Privilege Against Self-Incrimination
  Miranda and the Arizona Supreme Court
  Birth of the Miranda Warnings
  John Frank as Architect of the Miranda Doctrine
  John Flynn's Oral  Argument at the Supreme Court
  Gary Nelson's Oral Argument for Arizona
  Thurgood Marshall's Oral  Argument at the Supreme Court
  The Opinion
  The Miranda Warnings
  The Ongoing Debate
  The Dickerson Case
  Miranda's Global Reach

Miranda and the al Qaeda Terror

  Padilla and Hamdi
  False Confessions and the Tuscson Four
  Political Ideology and the Supreme Court
  Dickerson's Legacy
  Gideon's Legacy
  The Evolution of Miranda



from Chapter 9

Gideon’s Legacy

Excerpts from page 169

While many Americans feared the consequences of the Gideon decision and shuddered at Miranda, both cases have stood the test of time as compelling contributions to legal and cultural history. And for good reason. Until Gideon, a suspect did not have a clearly defined constitutional right to counsel in state courts. Until Miranda, a suspect did not have a clearly announced constitutional right to counsel prior to questioning by state police. As Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said of Gideon, “The whole course of American legal history has changed.” Criminal defense lawyers, like Craig Mehrens, were also profoundly impacted by Gideon. “I cannot imagine an accused facing the judicial system without an attorney,” said Mehrens. “Even with counsel, the fight is always uphill: a Sisyphusian affair. In addition, although notoriety is usually spotlighted on retained counsel, I know that it is the public defenders of this country that do the heavy lifting - who protect every day the constitutional rights of so many people, for so little pay, for little thanks, and in such adverse conditions. Gideon’s trumpet still plays for them. And what a clarion call it is.”

from Chapter 9

Dickerson’s Legacy

Excerpts from pages 169-170

Dickerson reaffirmed one of the most famous decisions in American jurisprudence. It also struck down a congressional act that was a thinly disguised political attempt to overrule Miranda. Section 3501 did not guarantee the same rights that Miranda did. Although its passage in 1968 was, at best, merely nettlesome - which explains why it was largely ignored - its application by a federal circuit court in 1999 made it a challenge to both the separation of powers doctrine and stare decisis within the judicial branch. The Fourth Circuit’s sua sponte transfusion of life into a dead statute gave the United States Supreme Court little choice but to strike it down. In doing so, the Court effectively told the Fourth Circuit that Miranda was, for the last time, a “constitutional” decision, and the message radiated out from Richmond to the congressional salons across the Potomac.

However, Dickerson was not a loss for Congress any more than it was a win for the Supreme Court. In its ruling, the Supreme Court had revealed that the “constitutional” Miranda was quite different from the old prophylactic-rule Miranda, but their opinion was obiter, or “by the way,” and dictum, that is, tangential to the Court’s holding.

A final irony produced by Dickerson also merits noting: The cases that justified Miranda - thirty-four years’ worth - had relied almost entirely on the thesis that it was merely a prophylactic rule and not a constitutional requirement. In striking down Section 3501, the Court made the Miranda warnings constitutional. That, of necessity, upgrades Miranda’s progeny to constitutional status as well.


Miranda: The Story of America's Right to Remain Silent
Copyright © 2004, Gary L. Stuart. All rights reserved.
Available at Alibris,, Barnes and Noble, and your local bookseller
page last revised: 10/25/04