Defendant was not given "Miranda rights" and wants confession suppressed under Miranda.
Prosecutor wants confession allowed under 18 USCS §3501(c).
This hypothetical was based on Dickerson v. United States, No. 99-5525, Decided June 26, 2000.
This is a SAMPLE ONLY of what all 1st year law students must write.
Obviously, this never was filed in any court, nor was it really written for any court.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
April Term 0000
United States of America,
On Appeal from
The United States District Court
Southern District of New York
Brief for United States of America
Alice Marie Beard
Attorney for United States of America
STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3731 (2000).
May a voluntary confession be admitted into evidence in the Government's case-in-chief under 18 U.S.C. §3501, notwithstanding that the confession was taken in clear violation of the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)?
CONSTITUTIONAL and STATUTORY PROVISIONS
United States Constitution, Amendment 5:
United States Constitution, Amendment 14, Section 1:
18 U.S.C. §3501:Admissibility of confessions:
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
On Dec. 13, 1999 (R-2), in a hotel-suite-like holding facility (R-8), after questioning that spanned 52 minutes (R-3 & 4), questioning that happened in written exchanges via a computer monitor (R-8), Defendant John Dot-Com confessed to FBI Agent Stevie Case that he had knowingly violated copyright laws. Mr. Dot-Com admitted to having sold over 2,500 electronic books in early 1999 in violation of copyright laws, and he admitted that those sales totaled several thousands of dollars (R-5). Mr. Dot-Com's confession was voluntary. He was not touched during questioning. While he was being questioned, he was by himself in a comfortable hotel-suite. After confessing, the Defendant filed a motion to suppress his confession, saying he had not been informed of his Miranda rights. The government stipulated that Mr. Dot-Com did not formally execute "an advice of rights form" until after he had signed his confession. However, the government has asked that Mr. Dot-Com's statement and confession be admitted pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3501. Judge Ralph Nader of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled that the statements and confession would be suppressed under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
Section 3501 of Title 18 of the U.S.C. should control in this case. Mr. Dot-Com's statements and confession were the voluntary statements of an educated man in a safe, hospitable, non-threatening environment. There is nothing in the record to suggest that the court found the defendant's confession to be coerced. The intent of Miranda is to elimate coerced confessions, and it must be noted that there was nothing coercive done to bring about this confession. What has come to be known as the "Miranda rule" is not mandated by the Constitution. In fact, the Miranda decision itself invited Congress and the States to implement alternative methods. Thus, Congress' enactment of 18. U.S.C. § 3501 was consistent with Miranda and with Congress' Constitutional power to legislate procedures and rules of evidence. While this society has spent thirty years watching television programs and Hollywood movies which would try to convince us that the Constitution mandates that a suspect under arrest must have those magic words read to him by the arresting officer, such is not the law. According to the law, a confession need only be voluntary. Will this nation be one ruled by laws and judges, or one ruled by Hollywood script writers? The government looks to the courts to enforce the law, and the determining law in this case is 18 U.S.C. § 3501 which allows for voluntary, non-coerced confessions.
There is the world of the law as it exists in the minds of those who learn the law by watching television, and then there is the law. As early as Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), and as recently as City of Boerne v. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), it has been made clear that Congress cannot overrule a Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution. However, Congress has the power to overrule judicially created rules of evidence and procedure that are not required by the Constitution. The prophylactic guidelines given in Miranda were not required by the Constitution and were not an interpretion of the Constitution. In Miranda, the Supreme Court specifically invited Congress and the states to develop their own safeguards for protecting individuals against coerced confessions:
Two years after that invitation,
Congress passed 18 U.S.C § 3501.
Rights guaranteed by the Constitution do not have exceptions. Miranda has exceptions; it is not a right guaranteed by the Constitition. It is only one way to get to that guarantee: a freedom from coerced self-incrimination. Among the exceptions to Miranda, exceptions which themselves show that Miranda itself is not a guarantee by the Constitituion, are two cases that began here in the Second Circuit: New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649, 654 (1984), in which the Court ruled that a voluntary confession obtained because of a police question was admissible even though there had been no Miranda warnings given, and Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222, 224 (1971), in which the Court held that an unMirandized confession could be used to impeach the testimony of a defendant who took the stand. In giving these rulings, the Court reasoned that the Miranda rule is not constitutionally required. Thus, unMirandized confessions may be admitted if they are voluntary. Constitutional rights do not have exceptions; Miranda clearly has exceptions. The Miranda of Hollywood and television script writers is not a Constitutional right.
Voluntariness is the issue. As early as 1884 in Hopt v. Utah, 110 U.S. 574 (1884), the Supreme Court ruled that, if a confession had been made voluntarily, it was deemed reliable. The Court saw that the mere fact that a suspect was in custody did not mean that a confession was involuntary. The first the Court stated that there is a Constitutional basis that a confession be voluntary was in 1897 in Bram v. United States, 168 U.S. 532, citing the Fifth Amendment. In Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278 (1936), the Court called on the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause to find a Constitutional requirement that a confession be voluntary in a case involving infringement by the state. Miranda did not attempt to leave this fold of voluntariness; it only offered an analytical approach to determine whether a confession would be deemed voluntary and thus admissible, and said the specific analytical approach would be used until States and Congress "develop[ed] their own safeguards" that would be as effective as the four warnings required in a Miranda warning. [The four warnings are (1) that the suspect has the right to remain silent; (2) that any statements he makes can be used against him; (3) that he has the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning; and (4) that an attorney will be appointed for him if he cannot afford one. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966).] Two years after the Miranda decision, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501 (in full at page 1 of this brief), clearly returning voluntariness as the test for admitting confessions in federal courts. Indeed, Congress included the four warnings in § 3501, but it also allowed that a greater consideration of the circumstances might show a confession to have been voluntary even in a case when the four warnings were not issued.
And now we come to the case before the bench today: The case of a literate, well-read, technologically savy man, quartered in the comfort of a hotel suite holding facility. Mr. Dot-Com knew no fear or coercion as he sat safely in a hotel suite. He willingly communicated with an FBI agent via electronic chat, surely a method of communication familiar and safe to a man who would be turning the likes of Robert Frost's poetry into electronic books. After 52 minutes of simple chatting, something a "tech nerd" no doubt had done often, Mr. Dot-Com voluntarily confessed to having sold over 2,500 electronic books, knowingly in violation of copyright laws, an act that brought several thousands of dollars to him. Before this Court are two roads: One is a road that would grant a pass to an intelligent man who found a neat, clean way to steal from writers, from the people who deserve to profit from their own creative efforts. The other is a road that would see this man as a law breaker and modern-day thief who voluntarily confessed while he was in a safe, non-threatening situation, and who deserves to be punished just as much as if he had stolen the money directly from the pockets of these writers and their estates. The Court can travel only one road in this case.
For these reasons, 18 U.S.C. § 3501 applies. This case should be remanded to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for one issue: To determine whether Mr. John Dot-Com's confession was voluntary under 18 U.S.C. § 3501
other examples of what all 1st-year law students write
Alice Marie Beard