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Miranda Cannot Be Overruled by Congressional Action

Tekoh v. County of Los Angeles Docket: 18-56414, Opinion Date: January 15, 2021. In light of the Supreme Court's decision in Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000), which held that Miranda is a rule of constitutional law that could not be overruled by congressional action, the Ninth Circuit concluded that where the unMirandized statement has been used against the defendant in the prosecution's case in chief in a prior criminal proceeding, the defendant has been deprived of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and he may assert a claim against the state official who deprived him of that right under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In this case, plaintiff alleged that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination was violated when his un-Mirandized statement was used against him at his criminal trial. The panel concluded that plaintiff sufficiently demonstrated a Fifth Amendment violation caused by the officer under section 1983, such that the district court erred by failing to instruct the jury on this claim. The panel explained that there is no question that plaintiff's statement was introduced into evidence in the failed state criminal prosecution of him. Furthermore, there is no question that the officer "caused" the introduction of the statements at plaintiff's criminal trial even though the officer himself was not the prosecutor. The panel also concluded that the error was not harmless. Accordingly, the panel vacated the district court's judgment on the jury's verdict; reversed the district court's judgment as to plaintiff's requested jury instruction; and remanded for a new trial.

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