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University of Minnesota Law School




Like many legal academics, Professor Donald Dripps believes that the Supreme Court's criminal procedure doctrine is a mess. Dripps believes that the Court's doctrine "is in large measure responsible for the failure of the criminal-procedure revolution" and contends that "current doctrine does not reflect prevailing (and justified) values about criminal process." To prove his claim, Dripps has written a book that expertly identifies the flaws, inconsistencies and missteps of the Court's constitutional criminal procedure cases dating back to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. "About Guilt and Innocence: The Origins, Development, and Future of Constitutional Criminal Procedure" is a comprehensive and thoughtful critique of the Court's criminal procedure jurisprudence. The book primarily focuses on the Court's Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment cases.

My review of Dripps' book proceeds in two parts. Part I provides a general overview of the book and highlights Dripps' core arguments. Generally speaking, Dripps asserts that the Court's criminal procedure cases should focus on instrumental concerns, such as proportionate police investigative practices and reliable adjudicatory procedures. Part II of my review discusses Dripps' analysis of the Court's confession cases. This part includes a description of Dripps' proposal to regulate police interrogation under an "instrumental" regime and my critique of his proposal.

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