Vega v. Tekoh

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Due Process Institute as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent.

Brief filed: 04/06/2022


Vega v. Tekoh

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 21-499

Prior Decision

Decision below 985 F.3d 713 (9th Cir. 2021)


When a police officer obtains custodial statements from a defendant in violation of Miranda and the prosecution introduces those statements at trial, the Fifth Amendment is violated and the defendant thus may sue officers under Section 1983 for damages. Even though the Court has sometimes described Miranda as a "prophylactic rule," the Court confirmed in Dickerson that the rule is indeed grounded in the Constitution.  The only question in such a Section 1983 case, therefore, is whether the officers' actions were the proximate cause of the constitutional violation. At least in a case such as this, where the prosecution introduced the statements at least in part because the officers failed to provide them with complete and truthful account of the circumstances under which the statements were taken, causation is satisfied because the constitutional violation was the direct and foreseeable consequence of the officers' actions.

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Steve Art, David Owens, Julia Rickert, and Samantha Hamilton of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago, IL; Jeff Fisher of Stanford Law School.

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