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Oregon v. Mathiason


The ruling limited the scope of Miranda v. Arizona (1966). In that case, the Court held that a person in police custody must be advised of her rights before the police may ask questions. Instead of holding that "police custody" includes questioning that takes place inside a police station, the Mathiason Court held that a person must be arrested or somehow confined before Miranda warnings are required.

In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, holding that a criminal suspect who is in police custody must be advised of certain constitutional rights before a law enforcement officer may question the person. In the primary prosecution that constituted the Miranda case, police officers had questioned a rape suspect while the suspect was in jail, without advising the suspect of his right to an attorney. The High Court struck down the suspect's confession and reversed his conviction, making new law in the process. Prior to Miranda, courts examined the totality of the circumstances surrounding a confession to determine whether it was made voluntarily. Miranda threw out that approach and established that a confession by a person who is in police custody is involuntary and therefore inadmissible in court if the interrogating officers do not advise the person of his or her basic legal rights as a criminal suspect. These rights, by virtue of the case name, became known as "Miranda" rights, and they include the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to be free from self-incrimination.

The Miranda decision was controversial. Deemed by many in the law enforcement community as hostile to law enforcement, the Miranda case was decided by a divided Court, and its import has been eroded by subsequent cases. One of those cases was Oregon v. Mathiason.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentOregon v. Mathiason - Significance, A Violation Of Miranda?, The Court Clarifies Miranda, Unfaithful To Miranda?, Impact