New York v. Harris

PETITIONER: New York
RESPONDENT: Bernard Harris
LOCATION: Residence of Bernard Harris

DOCKET NO.: 88-1000
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: New York Court of Appeals

CITATION: 495 US 14 (1990)
ARGUED: Jan 10, 1990
DECIDED: Apr 18, 1990
GRANTED: Apr 17, 1989

ADVOCATES:
Barrington D. Parker, Jr. - by invitation of the Court as amicus curiae, in support of judgment below; on behalf of the Respondent
Peter D. Coddington - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

On January 1, 1984, officers of the New York City Police Department found Thelma Staton murdered in her apartment. Various facts of the case linked Bernard Harris to the crime. On January 16, police officers responded to Harris’ house to take him into custody. Although the police had not obtained an arrest warrant, when they knocked on his door, Harris let them enter. The police officers read Harris his Miranda rights, and Harris admitted to committing the murder. The police officers arrested Harris and took him to the police station, where he was read his Miranda rights again and signed an inculpatory statement. The police then videotaped an incriminating interview between Harris and the district attorney, despite Harris' requests to cease the interrogation.

The trial court suppressed Harris’ initial confession and video interview but allowed the signed statement into evidence. After a bench trial, Harris was convicted of second-degree murder. The Appellate Division affirmed the conviction. The Court of Appeals of New York reversed and found the signed statement inadmissible because it was the fruit of an illegal arrest.

Question

Is the statement of a defendant inadmissible if it is the result of the police entering the defendant’s home without a warrant or consent in violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Media for New York v. Harris

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 10, 1990 in New York v. Harris

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 18, 1990 in New York v. Harris

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinions of the Court in five cases will be announced by Justice White.

Byron R. White:

Opinions have been filed with the Clerk explaining the actions taken in the following five cases.

First, in No. 88-1000, New York against Harris, we reverse the decision of the New York Court of Appeals by a five-to-four vote.

Justice Marshall, joined by Justices Brennan, Blackmun, and Stevens, has filed a dissenting opinion.