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Case Basics
Docket No. 
New York
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the District Attorney of New York County as amicus curiae urging affirmance)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Facts of the Case 

Harris was arrested for making two sales of heroin to an undercover police officer. Before receiving the Miranda warnings, Harris said that he had made both sales at the request of the officer. This statement was not admitted into evidence at the trial. However, Harris later testified in Court that he did not make the first sale and in the second sale he merely sold the officer baking powder. Harris' initial statement was then used by the prosecution in an attempt to impeach his credibility.


Did the use of Harris' post-arrest statement violate his Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights guaranteed by the Miranda decision?

Decision: 5 votes for New York, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Self-Incrimination

No. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that the Miranda decision did not mandate that evidence inadmissible against an accused in the prosecution's case must be barred for all purposes from the trial. The Court reasoned that the shield provided by Miranda could not be "perverted into a license to use perjury by way of a defense, free from the risk of confrontation with prior inconsistent utterances." The Court found that the speculative possibility that police misconduct could be encouraged was outweighed by the value of admitting the statement into the impeachment process.

Cite this Page
HARRIS v. NEW YORK. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_206>.
HARRIS v. NEW YORK, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_206 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"HARRIS v. NEW YORK," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_206.