Miller v. California

PETITIONER: Miller
RESPONDENT: California
LOCATION: Superior Court of San Bernardino County

DOCKET NO.: 154
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 392 US 616 (1968)
ARGUED: Mar 26, 1968
DECIDED: Jun 17, 1968

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Miller v. California

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 26, 1968 in Miller v. California

Earl Warren:

Number 154, Lucille Miller, petitioner versus California.

Mr. Bailey.

Lee Bailey:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case arises out of a conviction for murder in the first degree.

In the course of procuring that conviction, the State of California, subsequent to the arrest of the petitioner and subsequent to the time when she was represented by counsel overtly.

Planted in her cell was an agent of the prosecution, a policewoman, posing as a narcotics addict who had supposedly been confined by the State, in order to overhear, listen and stimulate conversation from the petitioner which it hoped it would be able to use to incriminate her at the trial.

As a result of this stimulation, certain statements were made which are characterized as admissions.

The petitioner denied her guilt but admitted the motive to the crime at least as to its existence.

This is not a usual uxoricide.

The precedent in this case was a dentist.

The defendant or petitioner his wife and an affair had been going on involving an attorney named Hayton.

The death occurred as a result of a fire in a Volkswagen Sedan on the early morning hours of October 8, 1964.

As of the moment of that death, there was on the record a series of decisions dealing with this very problem including specifically Massiah against the United States, Escobedo against Illinois and McLeod against Ohio applying Massiah to the states.

Within 24 hours or so, this petitioner had been arrested.

The police filling that circumstantial evidence, pointed to the fact that she had set the fire.

A large part of this was evidence of her affair with the attorney named Hayton.

At the time of her arrest, she was met at the jail by an attorney of her own selection.

She was booked for murder.

The police attempted to interrogate her.

Counsel objected to interrogation following arrest and following representation by counsel.

In order to protect her from interrogation, they set up a 24-hour watch at the jail.

This all began on October 9th, the day following the murder --

Earl Warren:

They, by they you mean who?

Lee Bailey:

Several counsel for petitioner -- counsel being unable to remain awake 24 hours must have some of his colleagues to assist him in the watch and protect the petitioner.

At 11 p.m. on October 9th, the Sheriff whom I will presume had some knowledge of the decisions to which I have alluded deliberately inserted passed on unsuspecting counsel, his policewoman undercover agent into the cell of petitioner.

Her instructions were to listen to what petitioner said and the State in its argument will represent that she in no way interrogated petitioner but was merely a listening post.

She did not carry a recording device or transmitter of any kind.

Is this before or after the state court injunction?

Lee Bailey:

Both Your Honor.

Before and after the state court injunction because nobody knew at the time the injunction was issued that the spy was in the cell and the State did not disclose it to the judge who gave the injunction.