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Moran v. Burbine

United States Supreme Court
475 U.S. 412, 106 S.Ct. 1135, 89 L.Ed.2d 410 (1986)



Police arrested Brian Burbine (defendant) for burglary and then realized he was suspected of a murder that happened months earlier. Burbine’s sister called the public defender’s office to get a lawyer to represent Burbine on the burglary charge; she was not aware that he was suspected of murder. A lawyer then called the police station and stated that she would represent Burbine if he was going to be put in a lineup or questioned. The lawyer was told by police that Burbine would not be questioned or put in a lineup that evening. The police did not tell the lawyer that Burbine was suspected of murder. Burbine never knew that his sister retained a lawyer to represent him or that the lawyer called the police station. Shortly after the lawyer’s phone call, police began interviewing Burbine about the murder. Before each interview, they gave Burbine proper Miranda warnings. Burbine signed three separate written waivers of his Miranda rights and three written statements admitting to the murder. Burbine moved to suppress the written confessions prior to his trial. The court denied his motion to suppress and held that he had knowingly waived his Miranda rights. He was convicted of murder in the first degree. On appeal to the state supreme court, his conviction was affirmed. Burbine petitioned the federal court for a writ of habeas corpus but was denied. On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, his conviction was reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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