The Right to Remain Silent

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Should The Courts Be Allowed To Restrict A Suspect Being Told That He Or She Has The Right To Remain Silent? “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you” (US Constitution Online. Steve Mount. May 10 2008). Do you recognize this as your Miranda Rights? These rights are based on the US Supreme Court’s historic Miranda vs. Arizona case and are your Constitutional rights as an accused person prior to any law enforcement questioning. On May 7, 2000 Brenton Butler, a 15 year old black male from Jacksonville, Florida, was accused of robbery and murder (Murder on a Sunday Morning. Dir. Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. Denis Poncet. 2000. DVD). This became known as the documentary, “Murder on a Sunday Morning”. Upon his arrest, and as part of legal procedure, he was read his Miranda Rights. “We could make arrangements for that” according to Detective James H. Williams. However, neither Williams nor the other arresting officers followed through with the correct course of action to get him a lawyer. It was the officers’ duty to get Butler in touch with his lawyer or a public defender, however; he was not given an attorney until the next day. He was properly told of his rights and still chose to speak with the detectives without proper representation. Should the court restrict a suspect’s right to be told that he can remain silent? In this essay I will argue both for and against being told that “you have the right to remain silent.” The Supreme Court issued the Miranda decision in 1966, requiring police to inform any and all criminal suspects of their right to remain silent and to converse with a lawyer (Cornell Law School University. 1995-2004). While it is intended to prevent police misconduct, the Miranda warning constraint can be taken to boundaries that can contaminate police work and threaten just...
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