The Miranda Decision

Topics: Miranda v. Arizona, Criminal law, Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution Pages: 2 (345 words) Published: May 20, 2013
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in the case of Miranda v. Arizona that established that a suspect has the right to remain silent and that prosecutors may not use statements made by defendants while in police custody unless the police have advised them of their rights. The case changed the way police handle those arrested for crimes. Before questioning any suspect who has been arrested, police now give the suspect his Miranda rights, or read them the Miranda warning.

The following is the common Miranda warning used by most law enforcement agencies in the United States today:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense. Miranda v. Arizona

The case that brought about the eventual Miranda rights ruling, involved Ernesto Miranda of Phoenix, Arizona. In 1963, Miranda was arrested for the armed robbery of a bank worker. While in custody of police, Miranda -- who had a record for armed robbery, attempted rape, assault and burglary -- signed a written confession to the armed robbery. He also confessed to kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old girl 11 days prior to the robbery.

Miranda was convicted of the armed robbery, but his attorneys appealed the case on the grounds that Miranda did not understand that he had the right against self-incrimination.

Ironic End for Miranda

When the Supreme Court made its landmark Miranda ruling in 1966, Ernesto Miranda's conviction was overturned. Prosecutors later retried the case, using evidence other than his confession, and he was convicted again. Miranda served 11 years in prison and was paroled in 1972. At age 34, Ernesto Miranda was stabbed and killed in a 1976 bar fight. A suspect was arrested in Miranda's stabbing, but exercised his right to remain...
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