Nix v. Williams Case Brief

Facts of the case

Williams was arrested for the murder of a ten-year-old girl who’s body he disposed of along a gravel road. State law enforcement officials engaged in a massive search for the child’s body. During the search, after responding to an officer’s appeal for assistance, Williams made statements to the police (without an attorney present) which helped lead the searchers to the child’s body. The defendant’s Miranda rights were only read to him after his arrest.

Why is the case important?

Williams was arrested for the murder of a 10 year old girl whose body he disposed of along a gravel road. State law enforcement officials engaged in a search for the child’s body. During the search, in response to an officer’s appeal for assistance, Williams made statements to the police (without an attorney present) which helped lead them to the body. Williams was only read his Miranda rights after he was arrested.

Question

Whether evidence, which ultimately results in arrest, should be excluded from trial because it was improperly obtained.

ANSWER

Under the inevitable discovery doctrine, because the evidence would have been discovered within a short period of time, the method in which it was obtained became irrelevant and it was still allowed against the defendant.

CONCLUSION

  • Advocates: Robert Bartels By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the respondent Ms. Kathryn A. Oberly Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal Brent R. Appel Argued the cause for the petitioner
  • Petitioner: Nix
  • Respondent: Williams
  • DECIDED BY:Burger Court
  • Location: Police Car
Citation: 467 US 431 (1984)
Argued: Jan 18, 1984
Decided: Jun 11, 1984
Nix v. Williams Case Brief