Congruence, Proportionality, and Dickerson
jnoble at DGSYS.COM
Tue Mar 13 19:34:25 PST 2001
If the legislation only governs the admissability of a confession in
state court, whether by the local police or state highway patrol, I
don't see where the 11th Amendment comes in at all -- nobody is suing
the state. If congruence is required only by virtue of the 11th
Amendment, then sec. 5 authority is limited only by a rational
relationship to procedural due process and/or the 5th Amendment right
against self-incrimination. Can the federal government define due
process to prohibit 18-hour custodial interrogations that satisfy
Miranda? Can the federal government require that interrogations be
videotaped and turned over to the defense? Can the federal government
prohibit interrogations before the suspect has been appointed or
hired an attorney? Can the federal government safeguard due process
prophylactically by suppressing custodial confessions altogether
without regard to the requirements of Miranda? As long as the relief
is purely prospective (motion to suppress), I don't see a problem.
At 3:18 PM -0600 3/13/01, Susan Bandes wrote:
>First, assuming Congress could expand local law enforcement obligations in
>interrogation situations under Sec. 5, would the Eleventh Amendment be
>implicated? (John is assuming it is, and thus that the "congruence"
>standard is applicable). In the vast majority of these cases, the relevant
>actor would be a local police department, not the state. Would this be
>considered a change in state law, or (as it seems to me) a federal
>obligation binding local police departments which do not have sovereign
>At 03:03 PM 3/13/01 -0500, you wrote:
>>A student submitted the following question:
>>"Suppose that Congress, pursuant to its section 5 power, decided to enact a
>>law that protected the rights of accused persons above and beyond Miranda
>>warnings. In Dickerson, the Court explicitly stated that Congress could
>>constitutionally enact such legislation, but Boerne seems to suggest that
>>where Congress engages in lawmaking that substantially reworks a
>>constitutional decision of the Court, the Court will hold that the
>>legislature has exceeded its authority. In light of this, how should we
>>expect the Court to address this type of legislation?"
>>My answer was along the following lines: 1) Miranda said legislators can
>>displace the warnings with something that is at least equally effective, and
>>Dickerson seems to endorse this language -- so there seems to be some
>>endorsement of the idea that Congress could expand the coverage of Miranda.
>>2) Congress could take this step with respect to federal criminal
>>investigations. 3) With respect to the states, the court would probably
>>agree that Congress has room to go beyond Miranda, but whatever Congress
>>does must be congruent and proportional, and Miranda would turn out to be
>>pretty close to the limit of what is congruent and proportional.
>>I wonder whether my answer is sufficiently responsive to the question (not
>>to mention substantively correct) and, more particularly, whether the
>>question itself raises issues of interest.
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