Miranda vs. Arizona (1966)
In Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the Supreme Court ruled that detained criminal suspects, prior to police questioning, must be informed of their constitutional right to an attorney and against self-incrimination. The case began with the 1963 arrest of Phoenix resident Ernesto Miranda, who was charged with rape, kidnapping, and robbery. Miranda was not informed of his rights prior to the police interrogation. During the two-hour interrogation, Miranda allegedly confessed to committing the crimes, which the police apparently recorded. Miranda, who had not finished ninth grade and had a history of mental instability, had no counsel present. At trial, the prosecution's case consisted solely of his confession. Miranda was convicted of both rape and kidnapping and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. He appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, claiming that the police had unconstitutionally obtained his confession. The court disagreed, however, and upheld the conviction. Miranda appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reviewed the case in 1966.
United States vs. Nixon (1974)
In 1972, President Richard Nixon, a Republican, was running for reelection against Senator George McGovern, a Democrat. Five months before the election, an alert security guard found burglars in the Democratic Party headquarters, which was located in Washington's Watergate apartment complex. Reporters following the story connected the burglars to high-ranking officials in the White House. Nixon denied any connection to the break-in. However, an independent Congressional investigation revealed the existence of audiotapes of the President discussing the break-in with its organizers. Nixon refused to turn the tapes over to Congress, claiming the tapes was covered by "executive privilege." He claimed that the President had the right to privileged communication that could not be looked at by any other branch of the government. The District Court ruled...
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