2015] SALINAS V. TEXAS 21
just what it is supposed to do or just whom it is intended to protect.”14 For
instance, in Murphy v. Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor,15 the
Supreme Court explained that it would “not do . . . to assign one isolated
policy to the privilege” because the Court’s own treatment of the self-
incrimination clause utilizes a variety of policy considerations.16 Among
the self-incrimination policy considerations listed in Murphy, one policy
consideration in particular targeted governmental interrogation: “[A] fear
that self-incriminating statements will be elicited by inhumane treatment
and abuses.”17 While the Murphy Court acknowledged interrogation as a
distinct policy among others underlying the self-incrimination clause, the
Court did not explain the policy’s origin or how the Court originally dealt
with cases involving governmental interrogation.18
The Supreme Court’s initial Fifth Amendment decisions and
interpretations did not materialize right away. More than one hundred
years had passed since the Fifth Amendment was first included in the
Constitution before the Supreme Court started focusing on cases involving
the self-incrimination clause.19 For instance, in Bram v. United States,20
the Court decided its first self-incrimination clause case regarding
governmental interrogation.21 In Bram, a fellow sailor accused the
defendant of murdering another member of the ship’s crew, and the police
arrested the defendant when the ship docked.22 While in custody, a police
detective secluded the defendant in a private office, stripped the defendant
of his clothes, and accused him repeatedly of murdering his fellow crew
member.23 In response to the accusations, the defendant made statements
denying any guilt and those statements were then admitted against the
defendant as evidence of a confession.24
14 Murphy v. Waterfront Comm’n of N.Y. Harbor, 378 U.S. 52, 56 n.5 (1964) (quoting
Harry Kalven Jr., Invoking the Fifth Amendment—Some Legal and Impractical
Considerations, 9 BULL. ATOMIC SCI. 181, 182 (1953)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
15 378 U.S. 52 (1964).
16 Id. at 56 n.5.
17 Id. at 55.
18 See id.
19 Kate E. Bloch, Fifth Amendment Compelled Statements: Modeling the Contours of
Their Protected Scope, 72 WASH. U. L.Q. 1603, 1609 (1994).
20 168 U.S. 532 (1897).
21 Id. at 565. See also Bloch, supra note 19, at 1612.
22 Bram, 168 U.S. at 536–37.
23 Id. at 539.
24 Id. at 539–41.