Document Type



Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law




In 1965, Yale Kamisar published a now-famous essay entitled, Equal Justice in the Gatehouses and Mansions of American Criminal Procedure: From Powell to Gideon, from Escobedo to... to make his case that the Court needed to take action to protect citizens in interrogation rooms, Kamisar used the powerful metaphors of the gatehouse and the mansion to contrast the treatment received in interrogation rooms in the back of police stations with the way defendants were treated when they arrived at courthouses where the power of the state was restricted and they had strong constitutional protections.

On its 50th anniversary since publication, this essay revisits the gatehouses and the mansions and shows that Kamisar’s metaphor breaks down today. In the mansions, defendants will often face enormous pressures to incriminate themselves and plead guilty. Many defendants who have colorable defenses simply cannot afford the risks of trial.

The essay ends by suggesting that if we are to restore the mansion to Kamisar’s image of what once did and should happen in the courthouse, we need to ask some painful questions about what has happened to our criminal justice system in the nearly fifty years since Kamisar wrote his essay.


"Originally published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law."