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 police questioning, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the state. These words have preceded every arrest since Miranda v. Arizona 1966, informing every detained person of his rights before any type of formal police questioning begins. This issue has been a hot topic for decades causing arguments over whether or not the Miranda Warnings should or should not continue to be part of police practices, and judicial procedures. In this paper, the author intends to explore many aspects of the Miranda Warnings including; definition, history, importance to society, constitutional issues, and pro's and con's of having the Miranda Warnings incorporated into standard police procedures.
The Miranda Warning, is the requirement set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona June 13, 1966 that prior to the time of arrest and any interrogation of a person suspected of a crime, he/she must be told that he/she has: the right to remain silent, the right to be told that anything he/she said while in custody can and will be used against him/her in a court of law, and that he/she has the right to legal counsel. The Miranda Warnings inform the arrested of constitutional rights and are intended to prevent self-incrimination in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Neubauer 2002).
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" (Murphy1996). By neglecting to inform a suspect of his Constitutional rights the due course of legal proceedings according to the rules and forms established for the protection of rights has been violated. In other words, the suspect has been denied his right to protection from being unjustly deprived of life and liberty for failure to abide by due process of law (Ivers 2002).
The Constitution reserves several rights for suspects of a crime. One of the fears of the authors of the U.S. Constitution was that the government could act however it wanted to by saying that an individual was a suspected criminal. Just by a person being suspected of committing a crime doesn't necessarily mean that their Constitutional rights are waived. The rights set forth by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are designed to ensure that those accused of a crime are assured of those rights (Mount 2003). Years ago police were able to take advantage of the fact that not everyone knows their rights by heart. In fact, it is likely that most people could only name a few of their rights as accused criminals, but not all of them. Law enforcement's position at the time was that if the accused, for example, spoke about a crime without knowing that they did not need to, that it was the persons fault for disclosing the information and not invoking their fifth amendment right (Frieden 1999).
Disclosing information without knowledge of his rights was the center of the issue in Miranda v. Arizona. In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was accused of kidnapping and raping an 18 year-old mentally challenged woman. He was taken in by authorities for questioning and signed a confession to the crime. Which, turned out to be the state's only piece of evidence linking him to the crime. Miranda...
References: 1. Frieden, T. (1999, November 10). Government files brief seeking to preserve Miranda warnings. CNN. Retrieved Saturday May 1, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cnn.com/US/9911/02/miranda.warnings.01/
2. Ivers, G. (2002). American Constitutional Law: Power and Politics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
3. Miranda v. Arizona: Certiorari to The Supreme Court of Arizona. (1966). United States Supreme Court. Retrieved April 23, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.tourolaw.edu/patch/Miranda/
4.. Mount, S. (2003). The Miranda Warning. Retrieved Saturday May 1, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.usconstitution.net/miranda.html
5. Murphy, G. (1996, October 16). Historical Documents: The Bill of Rights. Cleveland Free-Net. Retrieved April 23, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.lcweb2.loc.gov/const/bor.html
6. Neubauer, D.W. (2002). America 's Courts and the Criminal Justice System. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth: Thomson Learning.
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