McNabb-Mallory Doctrine.—Perhaps one reason the Court did not squarely confront the application of the self-incrimination clause to police interrogation and the admissibility of confessions in federal courts was that in McNabb v. United States275 it promulgated a rule excluding confessions obtained after an "unnecessary delay" in presenting a suspect for arraignment after arrest.276 This rule, developed pursuant to the Court's supervisory power over the lower federal courts277 and hence not applicable to the States as a constitutional rule would have been,278 was designed to implement the guarantees assured to a defendant by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,279 and was clearly informed with concern over incommunicado interrogation and coerced confessions.280 While the Court never attempted to specify a minimum time after which delay in presenting a suspect for arraignment would invalidate confessions, Congress in 1968 legislated to set a six-hour period for interrogation following arrest before the suspect must be presented.281 In Corley v. United States,15 the Court held that this legislation merely limited, and did not eliminate, McNabb-Mallory’s exclusionary rule. Thus, confessions within six hours of arrest are admissible to the extent permitted by the statute and Rules of Evidence, whereas, “[i]f the confession occurred before presentment and beyond six hours . . . , the court must decide whether delaying that long was unreasonable or unnecessary under the McNabb-Mallory cases, and if it was, the confession is to be suppressed.”16
275 318 U.S. 332 (1943). See also Anderson v. United States, 318 U.S. 350 (1943).
276 In Upshaw v. United States, 335 U.S. 410 (1948), the Court rejected lower court interpretations that delay in arraignment was but one factor in determining the voluntariness of a confession, and held that a confession obtained after a thirty-hour delay was inadmissible per se. Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449 (1957), held that any confession obtained during an unnecessary delay in arraignment was inadmissible. A confession obtained during a lawful delay before arraignment was admissible. United States v. Mitchell, 322 U.S. 65 (1944).
277 McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332, 340 (1943); Upshaw v. United States, 335 U.S. 410, 414 n.2 (1948). Burns v. Wilson, 346 U.S. 137, 145 n.12 (1953), indicated that because the Court had no supervisory power over courts-martial, the rule did not apply in military courts.
278 Gallegos v. Nebraska, 342 U.S. 55, 60, 63-64, 71-73 (1951); Stein v. New York, 346 U.S. 156, 187-88 (1953); Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, 599-602 (1961) (Justice Frankfurter announcing judgment of the Court).
279 Rule 5(a) requiring prompt arraignment was promulgated in 1946, but the Court in McNabb relied on predecessor statutes, some of which required prompt arraignment. Cf. Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449, 451-54 (1957). Rule 5(b) requires that the magistrate at arraignment must inform the suspect of the charge against him, must warn him that what he says may be used against him, must tell him of his right to counsel and his right to remain silent, and must also provide for the terms of bail.
280 McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332, 343 (1943); Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449, 452-53 (1957).
281 The provision was part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 82 Stat. 210, 18 U.S.C. § 3501(c).
15 129 S. Ct. 1558 (2009).
16 129 S. Ct. at 1571.
Last modified: June 9, 2014