New York v. Quarles

LOCATION: A&P supermarket

DOCKET NO.: 82-1213
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: New York Court of Appeals

CITATION: 467 US 649 (1984)
ARGUED: Jan 18, 1984
DECIDED: Jun 12, 1984

David A. Strauss - Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal
Steven J. Hyman - Argued the cause for the respondent
Steven J. Rappaport - Argued the cause for the petitioner

Facts of the case

After receiving the description of Quarles, an alleged assailant, a police officer entered a supermarket, spotted him, and ordered him to stop. Quarles stopped and was frisked by the officer. Upon detecting an empty shoulder holster, the officer asked Quarles where his gun was. Quarles responded. The officer then formally arrested Quarles and read him his Miranda rights.


Should the Court suppress Quarles's statement about the gun and the gun itself because the officer had failed at the time to read Quarles his Miranda rights?

Media for New York v. Quarles

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 18, 1984 in New York v. Quarles

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments next in New York against Quarles.

Mr. Rappaport, I think you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Steven J. Rappaport:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals of the State of New York properly suppressed the defendant's statement, the gun is over there, as having been elicited in violation of his federal constitutional rights and, if so, whether they also properly suppressed the defendant's subsequent statements admitting ownership of the gun, and the gun itself which was recovered seconds after the statement.

This Court has made it clear that the primary purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter police misconduct.

Since Officer Kraft acted properly in the instant case, however, there is simply no purpose to be served by exclusion of any of the evidence obtained as a result of his actions.

Briefly, the facts of the case are that Officer Kraft had probable cause to believe that the Respondent had committed a rape and was in possession of a gun in a supermarket.

When the Respondent saw Officer Kraft, he ran towards the back of the store.

Kraft pursued, lost sight of him for a few seconds, caught up to him, handcuffed him, frisked him, found an empty shoulder holster, and then asked, where is the gun?

The defendant indicated a carton a few feet away.

He said, there is the gun.

Kraft recovered the gun from that carton and then asked the defendant, is this your gun?

The defendant said, yes.

He admitted ownership of it.

And, Kraft asked where he bought it and the Respondent told him where he bought it.

Under the circumstances then, it is our position that Officer Kraft acted in a necessary and prudent fashion in securing that gun as quickly as he could.

The contention of the Respondent or of the Court of Appeals, of course, was that Officer Kraft's action was prescribed by this Court's opinion in Miranda versus Arizona.

If one examines the considerations underlying the Miranda opinion, however, it becomes clear that none of those considerations apply in the case at bar.

Specifically, the Miranda opinion talked about a lengthy interrogation in an incommunicado atmosphere with abusive police practices that lead to unreliable confessions.

Well, in the instant case, we have a single question asked at a public place for the purpose of protection of the police officers and any members of the public who might be in the vicinity and there were no abusive police practices because the officers had already holstered their weapons at the time that the question was asked, and the defendant's statement was completely reliable and its reliability was, in fact, proved seconds later when the gun was located exactly where the Respondent said that it would be.

Of course, it may be said that even if the considerations underlying the Miranda opinion do not apply to the case, the holding of the Miranda opinion requires suppression of the defendant's statement and the derivative evidence.

William H. Rehnquist:

When you say the holding of the Miranda opinion, was there a holding in Miranda?

Steven J. Rappaport:

Well, as I understand it, the holding of the case was that--

William H. Rehnquist:

It was really all dicta, the whole opinion, wasn't it?

Because none of the facts of the particular Miranda fellow, who was convicted of an offense and everything, didn't raise any of the questions that the Court decided.

Steven J. Rappaport:

--I understand what you are saying.

That is why I thought it important to discuss the considerations underlying the opinion which take up a great portion of the body of the opinion.

But, whether you want to call it dicta or holding, the Court certainly prescribed certain rules for police officers to follow.

Byron R. White:

There have been quite a few cases since then.

Steven J. Rappaport:

There have been many cases since then, of course, interpreting that.