Sunday, November 3, 2013

United States v. Patane case brief

United States v. Patane case brief summary
542 U.S. 630 (2004)

Respondent was indicted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 922(g)(1). A district court granted respondent's motion to suppress the firearm, reasoning that officers had lacked probable cause to arrest respondent. The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed the ruling with respect to probable cause but affirmed the suppression order. Certiorari was granted to the government.

Respondent apparently violated a restraining order and officers going to his home to investigate the matter were told that respondent, a convicted felon, illegally possessed a pistol. They arrested respondent but were interrupted by respondent when they attempted to advise him of his Miranda rights. An officer then asked about the gun and respondent eventually revealed where it was.


  • While there were several prophylactic rules designed to protect against self-incrimination, because those prophylactic rules (including the Miranda rule) necessarily swept beyond the actual protections of the Self-Incrimination Clause, any further extension of those rules had to be justified by the necessity for the protection of the actual right against compelled self-incrimination. 
  • Unlike unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment or actual violations of the Due Process Clause or the Self-Incrimination Clause, there was, with respect to mere failures to warn, nothing to deter since failure to give the Miranda warnings neither violated the Miranda rule or the Self-Incrimination Clause. 
  • There was therefore no reason to apply the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine.

The judgment of the circuit court was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

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

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