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Book Chapter

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It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss Dickerson1 intelligently without discussing Miranda whose constitutional status Dickerson reaffirmed (or, one might say, resuscitated). It is also difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the Dickerson case intelligently without discussing cases the Court has handed down in the five years since Dickerson was decided. The hard truth is that in those five years the reaffirmation of Miranda's constitutional status has become less and less meaningful. In this chapter I focus on the Court's characterization of statements elicited in violation of the Miranda warnings as not actually "coerced" or "compelled" but obtained merely in violation of Miranda's "prophylactic rules." This terminology has plagued the Miranda doctrine and puzzled and provoked many commentators since then-Justice Rehnquist utilized this label to describe and to diminish Miranda - and he was the first Justice ever to do so - thirty-two years ago. At that time, Justice Rehnquist observed for the Court: "[T]he police conduct at issue here did not abridge respondent's constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, but departed only from the prophylactic standards later laid down by the Court in Miranda to safeguard the privilege."