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Michigan v. Tucker


The defendant was arrested and brought to the police station for questioning about a rape. The officers asked the defendant if he wanted an attorney and that any statements he made could be used against him in court. They did not tell him he had the right to have an attorney appointed to represent him if he could not afford one himself. The defendant stated that he understood his rights and invoked the name of an associate, Henderson, as an alibi. The police interviewed Henderson. They learned that the defendant was not in his company at the time of the crime and made several incriminating statements to Henderson on the day following the crime. The police only knew of Henderson’s identity as a result of the defendant’s statements.


Whether the government may use information (Henderson’s statements) obtained after providing imperfect Miranda warnings?


Yes. The purpose of the exclusionary rule is designed to deter future law enforcement behavior.


The Court stated that “[J]ust as the law does not require that a defendant receive a perfect trial, only a fair one, it cannot realistically require that policemen investigating serious crimes make no errors whatsoever.” The police asked the defendant if he wanted an attorney, and he stated that he did not. “Whatever deterrent effect on future police conduct the exclusion of those statements may have had, we do not believe it would be significantly augmented by excluding the testimony of the witness Henderson as well.”


417 U.S. 433, 94 S. Ct. 2357 (1974)

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