4. The Massiah Doctrine: Sixth Amendment Exclusion of Confessions
This chapter considers the third constitutional bar to confessions—the exclusion doctrine announced in 1964 in Massiah v. United States. The Massiah doctrine, based on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, excludes statements deliberately elicited from an accused in the absence of a lawyer or a waiver of the right. Originally, this evidentiary bar was a personal right to suppression. In a recent, questionable ruling, the Supreme Court determined that the Massiah exclusionary rule is not a personal trial right. Instead, it is a deterrent sanction designed to prevent future deprivations of counsel. It presumptively excludes both incriminating disclosures and derivative evidence—any evidence acquired as a result of exploiting inadmissible statements. It applies in criminal trials, and the only individuals with “standing” to bar statements are defendants who made those statements. The Court has recognized some exceptions to the Massiah exclusionary rule, and others that have not yet been addressed are probably valid.
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