Robert S. Irons


The accession of Mr. Chief Justice Burger to the Supreme Court of the United States was expected to signal the limitation of constitutional doctrines by which the Court had enhanced the rights of the criminal defendant. The fulfillment of this expectation has been generally marked by decisions which have been readily and quickly comprehensible. For example, the prosecution was prohibited by the Warren Court from employing any products of the defendant's custodial interrogation in the absence of a warning of his right to counsel and his right to remain silent; the statement so procured is still barred in the case in chief but can be used to impeach the defendant's trial testimony. Post-indictment confrontation by an identifying witness was established as a critical stage at which the suspect was absolutely entitled to the assistance of counsel; the Burger Court has not extended this right to counsel to confrontations before institution of criminal proceedings nor to post- indictment photographic identification.