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County of Riverside v. McLaughlin


In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled in Powell v. Nevada (1994), that McLaughlin's 48-hour rule must be applied retroactively, noting that a rule for the conduct of criminal prosecutions is to be applied retroactively to all cases, state or federal, not yet final when the rule is announced. In this case the Court also pointed out that the appropriate remedy for a delay in determining probable cause was an issue not resolved by the McLaughlin case.

In United States v. Alvarez-Sanchez, a respondent asserted that his confession was obtained during an ongoing violation of his Fourth Amendment right to a prompt determination of probable cause. The respondent, however, did not raise a Fourth Amendment claim in the district court or the court of appeals, so the Supreme Court declined to address his Fourth Amendment argument. Not receiving a probable-cause review within 48 hours of confinement has come to be known as a Riverside violation. In a case where the trial court determines that there was a Riverside violation but the respondent never sought to have his confession suppressed as a result of that violation, an alleged Riverside violation is waived unless it is raised before the trial court.

In January of 1998, U.S. District Court Judge Julie E. Carnes ruled that Georgia's system for probable cause hearings provided juveniles less protection than adults. Under the Georgia law, juveniles could be incarcerated for 72 hours, or upwards of one week, if a weekend or holiday intervened, without a probable cause hearing. Judge Carnes noted that such hearings, "minimize the time a presumptively innocent individual spends in jail" and that such "pretrial detention is an onerous experience, especially for juveniles." Gerry Weber, the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia stated that he was pleased that the Court recognized the double standard in giving juveniles fewer due process rights than adults. He stated that "Innocent youth wrongly accused of crimes will no longer have to languish in jail for days awaiting a court's conclusion that they should never have been there in the first place."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994County of Riverside v. McLaughlin - Significance, The Promptness Requirement, No More Than 24 Hours Is Needed, Impact