Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Moran v. Burbine case brief

Mincey v. Arizona case brief summary
437 U.S. 385 (1978)

Petitioner sought review of a decision of the Supreme Court of Arizona, which reversed his convictions for murder and assault but affirmed his convictions for three narcotics offenses, holding that the warrantless search of petitioner's apartment as a homicide scene was permissible under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and that petitioner's statements were voluntary.

Petitioner was arrested during a drug raid in his apartment when one of the officers was shot and killed. The Arizona Supreme Court reversed his conviction for murder and assault on state grounds, but affirmed his conviction for three narcotics offenses under a "murder scene exception." On petition for certiorari, the court reversed. Except for the fact that the offense under investigation was a homicide, there were no exigent circumstances. Petitioner was wounded and taken to the hospital. There was no indication that evidence would be lost, destroyed, or removed during the time required to obtain a search warrant, and a police guard at the apartment minimized that possibility. The seriousness of the offense under investigation itself did not create exigent circumstances of the kind that, under the Fourth Amendment, justified a warrantless search. The "murder scene exception" was inconsistent with the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the warrantless search of petitioner's apartment was not constitutionally permissible simply because a homicide had recently occurred there.

The judgment affirming petitioner's convictions for three narcotics offenses was reversed, and the case was remanded, as the "murder scene exception" created by the Arizona Supreme Court was inconsistent with the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Moran v. Burbine case brief summary
475 U.S. 412 (1986)

By petition for writ of certiorari, petitioner sought review of a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, reversing respondent's conviction based on an invalid waiver of the respondent's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Respondent confessed to and was convicted of the murder of a young woman. Respondent later challenged his conviction, claiming his confessions should have been suppressed because the police deceived him by failing to inform him that a public defender had called to speak with him while he was in custody, but prior to arraignment. The court of appeals reversed the conviction.

  • On review, the Court found that respondent at no time requested an attorney, and events occurring outside the presence of respondent and entirely unknown to him had no bearing on his capacity to comprehend and knowingly waive his rights. 
  • The Court held that once a person knowingly and voluntarily waived his rights, the waiver was valid as a matter of law. 
  • The Court further found that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel had not attached when respondent confessed. 
  • The Court accordingly reversed.


The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals because respondent had knowingly and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights. The right to counsel under the Sixth Amendmenthad not yet attached and, therefore, respondent's statements were admissible.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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