Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oregon has a state constitution, part II

I recently posted on a Oregon state constitutional case, but this recent Oregon Supreme Court case has some great state constitutional law discussion, so I thought I would note it, too. In State v. Vondehn, No. SC S056371 (Or. July 1, 2010), the Oregon Supreme Court held that under its constitution, physical fruits of Miranda violations must be suppressed (rejecting the plurality SCOTUS decision in Patane):
The state contends, however, that we should reach a different conclusion when the violation of Article I, section 12, is a "mere failure to provide Miranda warnings" relying on the reasons persuasive to the plurality in Patane: that such a failure does not violate a suspect's constitutional rights and that, given the important value of reliable physical evidence, the Miranda rule should not be extended to exclude it. It is immediately obvious that the premise of the state's argument does not hold here. It is the Oregon Constitution that requires Miranda warnings and it is the Oregon Constitution that is violated when those warnings are not given. When the police violate Article I, section 12, whether that violation consists of "actual coercion" or the failure to give the warnings necessary to a knowing and voluntary waiver, the state is precluded from using evidence derived from that violation to obtain a criminal conviction. It follows ineluctably that, when the police violate Article I, section 12, by failing to give required Miranda warnings, the state is precluded from using physical evidence that is derived from that constitutional violation to prosecute a defendant.

Oregon is a long-standing leader in the area of state constitutional law. Its courts have a steady history of giving actual force to its own supreme law.

Article I, section 12 of the Oregon Constitution says: "No person shall * * * be compelled in any criminal prosecution to testify against himself."

Section 10 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights says: "In all prosecutions, * * * [n]o person shall be a witness against himself."

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