DUNAWAY V. NEW YORK, 442 U. S. 200 (1979)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dunaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200 (1979)

Dunaway v. New York

No. 78-5066

Argued March 21, 1979

Decided June 5, 1979

442 U.S. 200


A Rochester, N.Y. police detective questioned a jail inmate, the supposed source of a lead implicating petitioner in an attempted robbery and homicide, but learned nothing that supplied "enough information to get a warrant" for petitioner's arrest. Nevertheless, the detective ordered other detectives to "pick up" petitioner and "bring him in." Petitioner was then taken into custody, and although not told that he was under arrest, he would have been physically restrained if he had attempted to leave. He was driven to police headquarters and placed in an interrogation room, where he was questioned by officers after being given the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436. He waived counsel and eventually made statements and drew sketches that incriminated him in the crime. At his state court trial, his motions to suppress the statements and sketches were denied, and he was convicted. The New York appellate courts affirmed the conviction, but this Court vacated the judgment, and remanded for further consideration in light of t.he supervening decision in Brown v. Illinois, 422 U. S. 590, which held that there is no per se rule that Miranda warnings, in and of themselves, suffice to cure a Fourth Amendment violation involved in obtaining inculpatory statements during custodial interrogation following a formal arrest on less than probable cause, and that, in order to use such statements, the prosecution must show not only that the statements meet the Fifth Amendment voluntariness standard, but also that the causal connection between the statements and the illegal arrest is broken sufficiently to purge the primary taint of the illegal arrest in light of t.he distinct policies and interests of the Fourth Amendment. On remand from the New York Court of Appeals, the trial court granted petitioner's motion to suppress, but the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court reversed, holding that, although the police lacked probable cause to arrest petitioner, law enforcement officials may detain an individual upon reasonable suspicion for questioning for a reasonable period of time under carefully controlled conditions which are ample to protect the individual's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, and that, even if petitioner's detention were illegal, the taint of such detention was sufficiently attenuated to allow the admission of his statements and sketches.

Page 442 U. S. 201


1. The Rochester police violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments when, without probable cause to arrest, they seized petitioner and transported him to the police station for interrogation. Pp. 442 U. S. 206-216.

(a) Petitioner was "seized" in the Fourth Amendment sense when he was taken involuntarily to the police station, and the State concedes that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him before his incriminating statement during interrogation. P. 442 U. S. 207.

(b) Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, which held that limited "stop and frisk" searches for weapons are so substantially less intrusive than arrests that the general rule requiring probable cause to make Fourth Amendment "seizures" reasonable can be replaced by a test balancing the limited violation of individual privacy against the opposing interests in crime prevention and detection and in the police officer's safety, and the Terry case's progeny, do not support the application of a balancing test so as to hold that "seizures" such as that in this case may be justified by mere "reasonable suspicion." The narrow intrusions in Terry and its progeny were judged by a balancing test, rather than the general rule requiring probable cause only because those intrusions fell so far short of the kind of intrusion associated with an arrest. For all but those narrowly defined intrusions, the requisite balancing has been performed in centuries of precedent, and is embodied in the principle that seizures are reasonable only if supported by probable cause. Pp. 442 U. S. 208-214.

(c) The treatment of petitioner, whether or not technically characterized as an arrest, was in important respects indistinguishable from a traditional arrest, and must be supported by probable cause. Detention for custodial interrogation -- regardless of its label -- intrudes so severely on interests protected by the Fourth Amendment as necessarily to trigger the traditional safeguards against illegal arrest. Cf. Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U. S. 721; Brown v. Illinois, supra. Pp. 442 U. S. 214-216.

2. The connection between the unconstitutional police conduct and the incriminating statements and sketches obtained during petitioner's illegal detention was not sufficiently attenuated to permit the use at trial of the statements and sketches. Pp. 442 U. S. 216-219.

(a) Even though proper Miranda warnings may have been given and petitioner's statements may have been "voluntary" for purposes of the Fifth Amendment,

"[t]he exclusionary rule, . . . when utilized to effectuate the Fourth Amendment, serves interests and policies that are distinct from those it serves under the Fifth."

Brown v. Illinois, supra at 422 U. S. 601. While a confession after proper Miranda warnings may be found "voluntary" for Fifth Amendment purposes, this type of "voluntariness"

Page 442 U. S. 202

is merely a threshold requirement for Fourth Amendment analysis. Pp. 442 U. S. 216-217.

(b) Under Fourth Amendment analysis, which focuses on "the causal connection between the illegality and the confession," Brown v. Illinois, supra at 422 U. S. 603, factors to be considered in determining whether the confession is obtained by exploitation of an illegal arrest include: the temporal proximity of the arrest and the confession, the presence of intervening circumstances, and, particularly, the purpose and flagrancy of the official misconduct. Here, petitioner was admittedly seized without probable cause in the hope that something might turn up, and confessed without any intervening event of significance. Cf. Brown v. Illinois, supra. Pp. 442 U. S. 217-219.

61 App.Div.2d 299, 402 N.Y.S.2d 490, reversed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., post, p. 442 U. S. 219, and STEVENS, J., post, p. 442 U. S. 220, filed concurring opinions. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which BURGER, C.J.,joined, post, p. 442 U. S. 221. POWELL, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

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