Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Although early state constitutions were important and ambitious documents for their time, the development of state constitutional law stagnated after the drafting and adoption of the federal constitution., As the doctrine of federalism has resurfaced, however, states have begun to turn to their constitutions to grant more protection for their citizens. The states' criminal constitutional laws have changed significantly and continue to evolve today.

In the 1960s, the Warren Court expanded basic protections for criminal defendants by finding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. The Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment by the states. The Court extended the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to criminal defendants, held that this privilege also requires police to give warnings to suspects prior to custodial interrogations, and applied the double jeopardy clause to states. The Court extended the Sixth Amendment to give criminal defendants further rights: to be represented by an attorney, to be confronted by the witnesses against them,o to have a speedy trial," to have a trial by an impartial jury, and to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in favor of the defense. During this period, states hardly had time to consider what protections their own constitutions might give to criminal defendants because the Supreme Court was expanding the federal rights so rapidly to citizens accused of state-law crimes.