October 12, 1971
INMATES OF ATTICA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
ROCKEFELLER, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK, ET AL.
C.A. 2d Cir.
Application for temporary restraining order or injunction presented to MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL, and by him referred to the Court, denied.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting.
Applicants, state prisoners currently incarcerated at Attica State Prison*fn1, brought a class action in the District Court, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343 (3), alleging systematic violations of their constitutional rights by prison officials and state authorities in the aftermath of the Attica uprising of September 9-13, 1971. They requested, inter alia, that state officials be enjoined from questioning any prisoners concerning the uprising unless Miranda warnings*fn2 were given and counsel present. The District Court denied this request, while reserving rulings on other requested relief arising from charges of beatings, threats, interference with access to counsel, and destruction of legal materials*fn3 The question, however, was certified for appeal to the Court of Appeals, and is at present awaiting a decision there.
This is a case in which the public interest runs high and which raises grave questions concerning procedures for law enforcement that comport with the Constitution. The need for an immediate, authoritative determination of the prisoners' claims is paramount. It would serve no interest of the public, or of judicial order, for that determination to await the exhaustion of remedies in the lower courts.
Miranda is part of a prisoner's bill of rights. In a recent case Miranda was applied where a federal agent questioned a prisoner who was at the time serving a state sentence on a different crime. The Solicitor General argued that Miranda was not applicable to that situation. We disagreed and, speaking through Mr. Justice Black, said:
"The Government also seeks to narrow the scope of the Miranda holding by making it applicable only to questioning one who is 'in custody' in connection with the very case under investigation. There is no substance to such a distinction, and in effect it goes against the whole purpose of the Miranda decision which was designed to give meaningful protection to Fifth Amendment rights. We find nothing in the Miranda opinion which calls for a curtailment of the warnings to be given persons under interrogation by officers based on the reason why the person is in custody." Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1, 4-5.
I would treat the application before us as a petition for certiorari, and bring to this Court for summary disposition the entire matter pending in the Court of Appeals. See, e.g., Wilson v. Girard, 354 U.S. 524, 928; Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1.