The Supreme Court: Still Waiting on Confessions

Why do many Supreme Court decisions breed more confusion than clarification? Because the court, unlike a legislature, is charged with laying down broad principles based on the narrow facts of particular cases. And as Mr. Justice Holmes put it, "Hard cases make bad law." Last week they made confusing law in the court's flurry of reapportionment decisions (see THE NATION), and in its silent refusal to review a crucial California case involving the inadmissibility of voluntary confessions—currently the most confusing issue in U.S. criminal law.

New Principle. The confession problem stems from the court's own decision last June in Escobedo...

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