Florida Gulf Coast University
The 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona is one of the most famous United States Supreme Court rulings in our country’s history. It began in 1963 when Ernesto Miranda was arrested based on circumstantial evidence for the rape and kidnapping of a young woman, and burglary. After a two hour interrogation by the Phoenix police, Miranda signed a confession stating “I have full knowledge of my rights, understanding any statement I make can be used against me” to the crimes he was accused of. This confession was obtained by police without advising Miranda of his legal rights. These rights consist of the right to counsel and the right to remain silent. The victims positively identified Miranda in a line up, and Miranda confessed to these crimes under the pressure of the Phoenix police without knowing he didn’t have to tell the police anything and had the right to have an attorney present. When this case went to trial Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years for each crime. On an appeal to the Supreme Court of Arizona, Miranda and his counsel argued that the police had obtained the confession without advising him of his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and the right to an attorney. By a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the conviction because the confession was obtained without Miranda knowing his rights. Since this case, it is required of all law enforcement agencies to notify a suspect of his rights prior to an interrogation; otherwise any information obtained during an interrogation without notifying the suspect of his rights will not be admissible in court.
In recent years, there have been numerous occasions where a suspect’s knowledge of his or her 5th Amendment rights have been questioned. Earlier this year, Gonzalo Rafael Venegas was a suspect in a murder case involving the stabbing of another man. When Venegas was detained by the police, he...