Kamisar, Yale

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Yale Kamisar, the Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor, was a professor in the University of Michigan Law School from 1965 to 2004.

From the description of Yale Kamisar visual materials. 1962-2003 (scattered) (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 85778880

Yale Kamisar, the Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor, was a professor in the University of Michigan Law School from 1965 to 2004. An expert in criminal law, particularly the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment and the Miranda rule based on the Fifth Amendment, Kamisar was a proponent of defendent rights and wrote extensively on the subject. In the 1960s, his arguments were influential as the Warren Supreme Court ruled on several key defendant's rights issues, such as search and seizure (Mapp v. Ohio), guaranteed legal counsel (Gideon v. Wainwright), right to counsel while in custody (Escobedo v. Illinois), and the right to remain silent (Miranda v. Arizona). Kamisar also wrote and lectured extensively on assisted-suicide, euthanasia, and mercy-killing, arguing that seriously ill or comotose patients were in danger, because of pressure to deny or stop medical treatment and care.

From the description of Yale Kamisar papers, 1955-2004. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 85778851

Born August 29, 1929, in East Bronx, Yale Kamisar was the child of immigrant Jewish parents, Samuel and Mollie (Levine) Kamisar. Showing early promise in art, he attended the prestigious High School of Music and Art in New York City. Kamisar won an academic scholarship to New York University, graduating in 1950. He then attended Columbia Law School. Then the Korean War intervened. He enlisted in the army. Distinguishing himself as the commander of a platoon in the assault on T-Bone Hill, Kamisar earned a Purple Heart. He returned to law school in 1952, graduating with a L.L.B. in 1954.

In 1955, Kamisar began his law career as an associate in the prestigious firm of Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. There, he practiced anti-trust law. In 1956, in one of the few times he was in the courtroom, he represented (pro bono) a convicted drug user, who was appealing his conviction. Kamisar was appalled, when federal prosecutors attempted to use statements (which they believed to be incriminating) from the man's barely literate, hand-written petition, against his client. His impassioned statements in the courtroom won the client his appeal. This and other experiences however, convinced Kamisar that he was better-suited for the classroom.

He began his teaching career, in 1957, as an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. In 1959 he was promoted to full professor. He left Minnesota in 1964 to be a visiting professor at Harvard University Law School. In 1965 Kamisar came to Ann Arbor as a professor in the University of Michigan Law School. In 1979 he was named the Henry K. Ransom Professor, a title that he retained until 1992. That year Kamisar was named the Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor. While at Michigan, he taught courses in Constitutional Law, Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, and Evidence.

Several decisions handed down by Justice Earl Warren's Supreme Court rendered criminal law a hot topic and with it, Yale Kamisar. These decisions included Mapp v. Ohio (1961), which prevented prosecutors from using evidence gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure; Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), guaranteeing that states must provide legal counsel (at least in felony cases) to defendants who could not afford to hire their own; Escobedo v. Illinois (1964), which established the defendant's right to legal counsel while in custody; and Miranda v. Arizona (1966), requiring police to inform a defendant of his right, according to the Fifth Amendment, to remain silent. All these cases had been championed by Kamisar in his earlier writings. In 1965, he wrote an article entitled "Equal Justice in the Gatehouses and Mansions of American Criminal Procedure." Often quoted by Time and other popular publications, it was critical of the free hand that was wielded by police interrogators, asking why the constitution required so much in courtrooms (mansions), but meant so little in police stations (gatehouses). The justices cited this article, and other Kamisar work, in their opinions on the Gideon and Miranda decisions. Kamisar also worked closely with the defending attorneys in the Gideon , Escobedo, and Miranda cases.

These cases were celebrated by civil libertarians but condemned by conservatives. Kamisar became a leader in the defense of the Warren court's rulings. While Miranda and the exclusionary rule have been somewhat weakened by rulings of the Burger and Rehnquist Courts, Kamisar stands as an obstacle to their total reversal.

Kamisar authored several prominent casebooks including Constitutional Law: Cases, Comments, and Questions with William B. Lockhart and Jesse H. Choper and Modern Criminal Procedure: Cases and Commentaries with Wayne R. LaFave and Jerold H. Israel. In 1958, Kamisar wrote an article entitled "Some Non-Religious Views Against Proposed 'Mercy-Killing' Legislation." This research interest was resumed in the mid-1970s, after the controversies surrounding Karen Ann Quinlan, Elizabeth Bouvia, and Sunny Von Bulow.

Kamisar presented many lectures at leading law schools, including the Mitchell Lecture at the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1977 and the Marks Memorial Lecture at the University of Arizona Law School in 1990. In 1978 Kamisar received an L.L.D honorary degrees from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and an honorary degree from the University of Puget Sound in 1979. He was named Lee Distinguished Professor at the College of William and Mary for the 1987-1988 academic year. In 1990, he was cited by the National Law Journal as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in the country.

In 2002, Kamisar began to plan for his retirement from the University of Michigan and accepted a position, as professor of law, at the University of San Diego Law School. He officially retired from the University of Michigan at the end of the fall term in 2003.

Kamisar married Esther Englander on September 7, 1953. They had three sons, David, Gordon, and Jonathan. They divorced in 1973. Kamisar married Christine Keller in 1974. She preceded him in death on June 12, 1997. He married his present wife, Joan Russell, in February 1999.

From the guide to the Yale Kamisar papers, 1955-2004, 1965-2004, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers, 1918-1993 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Kamisar, Yale. Yale Kamisar papers, 1955-2004. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Papers of Elizabeth Blodgett Hall, (inclusive), (bulk), 1617-2006, 1860-2000 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Law School (University of Michigan) oral history interviews, 1988-2002 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Papers, 1926-1977 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn News and Information Services (University of Michigan) photograph series D (faculty and staff portraits), 1946-2006, 1950-1990 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn University of Michigan. Law School. Law School (University of Michigan) oral history interviews, 1988-2002. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Kamisar, Yale. Yale Kamisar visual materials. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Papers, 1932, 1942-1978 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Field, Richard Hinkley, 1903-1978. Papers of Richard Hinkley Field, 1932-1978 (inclusive), 1942-1978 (bulk). Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn News and Information Services (University of Michigan) Faculty and Staff Files, 1944-2005, 1960-1995 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Yale Kamisar papers, 1955-2004, 1965-2004 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Elizabeth B. (Elizabeth Blodgett) Hall, 1909- person
associatedWith Field, Richard Hinkley, 1903-1978. person
associatedWith Fuller, Lon L., 1902- person
associatedWith Paul A. Freund person
associatedWith University of Michigan corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Law School. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. News and Information Services. corporateBody
associatedWith Urban, Otto. person
associatedWith Urban, Otto. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Michigan
Subject
Euthanasia
Self-incrimination--History
Exclusionary rule (Evidence)--United States
Law--Study and teaching
Self-incrimination--United States--History
Police questioning--United States
Police questioning
Exclusionary rule (Evidence)
Euthanasia--Law and legislation
Criminal law
Criminal law--United States
Law--Study and teaching--Michigan
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1929

Information

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