City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt


Is the Fifth Amendment violated when a criminal defendant is compelled to incriminate himself and the incriminating statement is used in a probable cause hearing, rather than in in a criminal proceeding?1

  1. We talked about this case in Episode 49. More information about the case can be found here

5-4 Vogt

7-2 City

5-4 City


The Fifth Amendment prohibits the government to force people to give testimony against themselves.

In this case, Kansas introduced a compelled statement against the defendant in a preliminary hearing to determine whether the state had probable cause to pursue criminal charges against the defendant.

Vogt says his statement was compelled because due to a strange series of unfortunate events. Vogt worked as a police officer for City of Hays, Kansas. He applied for a job with the City of Haysville, Kansas. During the interview, he revealed that he had a knife that he kept from his previous employer, the City of Hays. Haysville told him that if he wanted the new job, he would have to tell his old employer about this knife. Long story short, as a result of this, he was charged with felony possession of this knife.

The details of the specific compelled speech are a little hazy, because they are not in the record below in its entirety. This fact also lead to an interesting exchange at oral arguments between Breyer and Roberts [MP3].

At the heart of this case is whether a probable cause preliminary hearing can accept unconstitutionally acquired evidence. The city argues yes because the defendant can always keep out that evidence at trial; Defendant says the plain language of the constitution is pretty clear. The other alternative that came up in oral argument is to dismiss the case as improvidently granted, which given the problems with the record might be something the Court could do.

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