Pronouncements of the U.s. Supreme Court Relating to the Criminal Law Field: 1983 - 1984

Publication year1984
CitationVol. 13 No. 9 Pg. 1561
13 Colo.Law. 1561
Colorado Lawyer

1984, September, Pg. 1561. Pronouncements of the U.S. Supreme Court Relating to the Criminal Law Field: 1983 - 1984


Vol. 13, No. 9, Pg. 1561

Pronouncements of the U.S. Supreme Court Relating to the Criminal Law Field: 1983 - 1984
by William H. Erickson

Chief Justice, Colorado Supreme Court
William D. Neighbors

Associate Justice, Colorado Supreme Court

[Please see hardcopy for image]

Justice Erickson

[Please see hardcopy for image]

Justice Neighbors

The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of James Campbell, Britt Clayton, Manson Crosby, Gary George, Carol Harkias, William Jolliffe, Cynthia Mardian, Virginia Shapiro, Sturart Starry, Phyllis Steele, and James Thompson In the preparation of this article.

© William H. Erickson and William D. Neighbors, 1984




A. Establishment Clause

1. Municipal Nativity Scene: Lynch v. Donnelly 1565

B. Free Expression and Association

1. Union Activities: Minnesota State Board for Community Colleges v. Knight 1565

2. Closure of Voir Dire Examination: Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court 1565

3. Campaign Posters: City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent 1566

C. Media Regulation

1. Editorials: FCC v. League of Women Voters of California 1568

2. Photographing Money: Regan v. Time, Inc 1568

D. Defamation

1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a): Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United States,. Inc 1568


A. Warrant Requirements

1. Warrantless Entry into a Private Residence: Welsh v. Wisconsin 1569

2. Enforcement of Subpoena Duces Tecum: Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc 1570

3. Reopening Containers: United States v. Jacobsen 1570

4. Fire Investigation: Michigan v. Clifford 1571

5. Electronic "Beepers" in the Home: United States v. Karo 1572

B. Scope of Protections

1. Open Fields: Oliver v. United States 1574

2. Illegal Aliens

a. Immigration & Naturalization Service v. Delgado 1575

b. Immigration & Naturalization Service v. Lopez-Mendoza 1576

3. Prison Cells: Hudson v. Palmer 1577

C. Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule

1. Subsequent Valid Search and Seizure: Segura v. United States 1578

2. Police Reliance on the Validity of Warrant

a. Technically Invalid Warrant: Massachusetts v. Sheppard 1580

b. No Probable Cause for Warrant: United States v. Leon 1580

3. Note: New Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule 1581


A. Self-Incrimination

1. Voluntarily Prepared Business Records: United States v. Doe 1583

2. Failure to Assert Privilege in a Timely Manner: Minnesota v. Murphy 1584

3. Misdemeanor Traffic Offense: Berkemer v. McCarty 1584

4. Public Safety Exception to Miranda: New York v. Quarles 1585

5. Retroactivity of Edwards v. Arizona: Solem v. Stumes 1588

6. Note: Prospectivity and Retroactivity in Constitutional Cases 1589

B. Due Process

1. Substantive Right to Jury Guidance: James v. Kentucky 1590

2. Plea Bargains: Mabry v. Johnson 1590

3. Non-Public Investigation of "Targets": Securities and Exchange Commission v. O'Brien 1590

4. Discrimination in Jury Selection: Hobby v. United States 1591

5. Prosecutorial Vindictiveness: Thigpen v. Roberts 1592

C. Double Jeopardy

1. Hung Jury: Richardson v. United States 1592

2. Lesser Included Offenses: Ohio v. Johnson 1594

3. Death Sentence: Arizona v. Rumsey 1595

4. Two-Tiered Trials: Justices of Boston Municipal Court v. Lydon 1596


A. Right of Access

1. Closure of Suppression Hearing: Waller v. Georgia 1597

B. Right to Counsel

1. Presumption of Ineffectiveness of Counsel: United States v. Cronic 1597

2. Stand-By Counsel: McKaskle v. Wiggins 1598

3. Inevitable Discovery Rule: Nix v. Williams 1600

4. Prison Inmates: United States v. Gouveia 1602

5. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel: Strickland v. Washington 1602

6. Note: Effective Assistance of Counsel 1604

C. Right to Fair Trial

1. Impartial Jury: Patton v. Yount 1606


2. Waiver of Statute of Limitations: Spaziano v. Florida 1607


A. Death Penalty

1. Proportionality Review: Pulley v. Harris 1608

2. Note: The Death Penalty and the Eighth Amendment 1608


A. Due Process

1. Preventive Detention of Juveniles: Schall v. Martin 1609

2. Note: Preventive Detention 1610

3. Failure to Preserve Potentially Exculpatory Evidence: California v. Trombetta 1611

4. Increased Sentence After Reconviction: Wasman v. United States 1611

5. Rights of Pretrial Detainees: Block v. Rutherford 1612


A. Federal Criminal Statutes

1. Forfeiture Under Organized Crime Control Act: Russello v. United States 1614

2. Bribery of Public Officials: Dixson v. United States 1614

3. Knowing Misrepresentations to Federal Agency

a. United States v. Rodgers 1615

b. United States v. Yermian 1615

B. Federal Jurisdiction

1. Collateral Order Under 28 U.S.C. 1291: Flanagan v. United States 1615

2. Certiorari Dismissed as Improvidently Granted: New York v. Uplinger 1616

3. Habeas Corpus: Reed v. Ross 1616

4. Adequate and Independent State Grounds: Colorado v. Nunez 1617

5. Note: Colorado v. Nunez and Michigan v. Long: The Supreme Court as a Unifying Force 1617

6. Note: The Intermediate Court of Appeals 1617

C. Collateral Estoppel

1. Non-Mutual Estoppel Against the United States: United States v. Mendoza 1619

2. In Rem Forfeiture Proceeding: United States v. One Assortment of 89 Firearms 1619


A. Judicial Immunity

1. Injunctive Relief: Pulliam v. Allen 1619

2. Note: Judicial Immunity Under 42 U.S.C. 1983 1620

B. Public Defender Immunity: Tower v. Glover 1620

C. Organization Membership Discrimination: Roberts v United States Jaycees 1621


The United States Supreme Court's 1983-84 term marks a drastic shift in the moderate ideology which previously characterized the Burger court. In sharp contrast to the 1982-83 term when the Court rebuffed the Reagan Administration in many notable decisions, the Court during this term consistently endorsed the Administration's interpretation of federal statutes, particularly where the rights of the individual confronted the authority of the government.

In assessing the term, Burt Neuborne, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, stated that "(w)hen the Supreme Court functions not as a vigorous guardian of the individual but as a cheerleader for the government, individual constitutional rights cease to have independent meaning. . . . (The term) was genuinely appalling." Conservatives, however, including those within the Administration, generally applauded the Court's decisions this term. Paul Kamenar, an attorney for the conservative Washington Legal Foundation, commented that "(t)he Supreme Court has come down on the side of common sense."

Former Attorney General, Griffin Bell, construes this term's decisions on the exclusionary rule as nothing more than a middle ground adjustment to avoid the total abolition of the rule. Professor Laurence H. Tribe of Harvard accuses the Court of suddenly shifting to a cost benefit analysis on all criminal law issues where the exclusion of evidence is an issue. He equates the Supreme Court's approach to a quasi-scientific comparison of the cost to society of enforcing a right against the intangible benefits tied to a constitutional right that is to be protected. Professor Philip Kurland of the University of Chicago Law School contends that the Warren Court was an extreme activist Court in creating law by interpretating the constitution, but that the present court, though more conservative, continues the activist role of its predecessor. In his view the Supreme Court should not be involved in making policy decisions.

An unexpected realignment of the justices along ideological lines best explains the sudden emergence of the "conservative bloc," comprised of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Justices Bryon R. White, Lewis F. Powell, William F. Rehnquist, and Sandra Day O'Connor, which prevailed in most of the significant rulings of this term. The Court once again ended its term with a blizzard of 45 opinions in the last three weeks, many of which were the Court's most far-reaching decisions. Of the 150 decisions rendered during the nine-month term, 66 cases were unanimous and 29 were by one vote margins. In 22 of those cases, Justices Rehnquist and Brennan were on opposite sides. Justice O'Connor joined Justice Rehnquist in 26 of the 29 cases. By contrast, "the conservative bloc" was almost always resisted by Justices William J. Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, and John Paul Stevens. Justice Brennan dissented in 46 of this term's 150 decisions. Chief Justice Burger dissented in only 8. The "new minority's" antipathy toward, what was in their view, the Court's consistent curtailing of individual rights was no more evident than when Justice John Paul Stevens took the exceptional step of reading in open court an embittered dissent to a majority ruling dealing with the rights of prisoners. Although Justice


Harry Blackmun often allied himself with the "conservative bloc" this term, in many of the most significant decisions he voted independently.

The Current Term

Unlike the 1982-83 term, the most notable decisions of the 1983-84 term concerned issues in the criminal law field. In a series of decisions, culminating on the term's final day with the Court's recognition of a narrowly defined "good faith exception" to its 70 year old exclusionary rule which bans illegally seized...

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