American History & Government Since 1877
Historical Event Paper
The Miranda Rights (Miranda v Arizona 1966)
In 1966, during the era of the Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 along with three other consolidated cases: Westover v. United States, Vignera v. New York, and California v. Stewart. The case being tried that eventually brought about Miranda rights ruling involved Ernesto Miranda of Phoenix, Arizona. While in custody of police, Miranda signed a written confession for the crime in which he was charged. He was subsequently convicted. His attorneys appealed the case on the grounds that Miranda did not understand that he had the right against self-incrimination. The decision in the case caused Miranda’s conviction to be overturned. The 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ruled that the prosecution could not introduce Miranda's confession as evidence in a criminal trial because the police had failed to first inform Miranda of his right to an attorney and against self-incrimination. The police duty to give these warnings is compelled by the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which gives a criminal suspect the right to refuse "to be a witness against himself”, and Sixth Amendment, which guarantees criminal defendants the right to an attorney. The Court maintained that the defendant's right against self-incrimination has long been part of American law as a means to equalize the vulnerability inherent in being detained. Such a position, unchecked, can often lead to government abuse. For example, the Court cited the continued high incidence of police violence designed to compel confessions from a suspect. This and other forms of intimidation deprive criminal suspects of their basic liberties and can lead to false confessions. The defendant's right to an attorney is an equally fundamental right, because...
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