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Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy$
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Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, and Patrick J. Egan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329414

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329414.001.0001

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The Rights of the Accused

The Rights of the Accused

(p.41) 2 The Rights of the Accused
Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Amy E. Lerman

Oxford University Press

In determining what protections to accord those accused of criminal activity, the Supreme Court has tried to balance the Constitution's protection of individual liberties and the state's need to ensure public safety. This chapter examines changing public attitudes toward these competing priorities over the last half century in light of three major Supreme Court decisions (Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, and Mapp v. Ohio). Through these decisions, the Supreme Court bolstered the due process rights of the accused, even as the public by and large preferred to strengthen prosecutorial power. The analyses presented in this chapter suggest some important points about the power of the Court and its role in shaping the attitudes of the mass public.

Keywords:   rights of accused, Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, Mapp v. Ohio, Supreme Court, rights revolution, public opinion, due process

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