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Miranda Rights


In the year 1966, a very important change was made to the US laws and this involved people making statement that could result in their incrimination. In the Historic Miranda Vs Arizona case, the Supreme Court thought it worthy and wise that whence a person is apprehended by the police, he/she should be informed of the firth Amendment right so that the individual does not make statements that would result inn his/her incrimination. As a consequence of these changes, any person that is taken into the police custody has to be informed about the four basic things in the Miranda Rights provision: the right to silence or anything said could be used against you in court. One has the right to an attorney if he/she is indigent, the state will have to provide one, Free of charge.


Miranda Rights

Brief History

In 1963, police officers apprehended a young man name d Miranda Ernesto and charged him with several crimes including robbery, rape and kidnapping. The police interrogated him and the young man decided to make a confession to the police. So during his trail is a criminal court; there was no other evidence except that confession he had made to the police. Following this, d Miranda was convicted and given a sentence of over 20 years imprisonment (Miranda V. Arizona. 2006). However, his lawyer was not happy with the ruling and he sought appeal from Arizona Supreme court which was unsuccessful and later had to go to the US Supreme Court.

In 1966, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in his favor and declared that only a confession was not permissible fro conviction in a law court citing the coercive nature of the police grilling. Also under the Fifth Amendment this would be self incriminating yet the suspect is not well informed of his rights to have a lawyer (Holland 2006). The confession could have been permissible if the suspect was aware of the rights and personally chooses to waive them. Because the police did not inform Miranda of his Fifth Amendment rights before the conviction, the accusation was overturned. He was tried again but the second round he convicted based on girlfriend’s testimony (Greenfield & Witt 2005). From this Miranda versus Arizona case the Miranda rights were established with mandatory Miranda warning prior to police interrogation without which the evidence collected could be termed unlawful.

The Miranda Warning

The Miranda warning is that the suspect has the right to Silence – The right to silence ensures that at the beginning of the interrogation or when the person is taken into custody is well informed of precise ands equivocal terms of the silence (Hattendorf 2005); after being made aware of this rights, the suspect is notified that anything said after that could and will be admissible in a law court – The right to be represented by a lawyer or have lawyer around while interrogation is being carried out is very obligatory to the safeguarding of the Fifth Amendment privileges under the current system and the suspect should also be made aware that he/she has the right to seek advice from with the lawyer in the process of interrogation(Miranda V. Arizona. 2006); the second right is to have an attorney during the interrogation if the suspect can afford one, however if she/he is poor and cannot, the it’s the duty of the state to provide one without charging they suspect – The government seeks to fully apprise a suspect under


Miranda Rights

interrogation of the extent of his/her rights under the current systems by not only warning against inconsiderate talking and the right to counsel but also offers one to those indigent so that they can be fairly represented. Without this provision, the admonition of the right to counsel be interpreted that the right only applied to the rich who can afford a lawyer and not the poor people in the society (Hattendorf 2005).

This Miranda rule and Miranda warning is read to a suspect when the police make an arrest is to ensure that the suspects preserve their Fifth Amendment right and that they are aware they do not have to talk to the officers if they did not want to. Even if the questioning is underway and the suspect chooses to ask for an attorney, the interrogation should be stopped immediately and an attorney provided. Otherwise if interrogation continues, then the statements the suspect makes after that are inadmissible and should not be used against the suspect (Miranda V. Arizona. 2006).

Since the ruling of the Miranda Arizona landmark case, its very easy to deal with an investigator or a detective and this has also created very favorable environment for investigation. The interrogations by police prior to Miranda vs. Arizona were very aggressive Ns very lengthy and also because of the abuse that was involved, the suspect used to make false confessions to avoid assault by police and the police investigation is less zealous (Miranda V. Arizona. 2006). When a person is suspect of any crime and he or she has to be taken into custody, the then police and mandated to red to the suspect the Miranda rights before taking the suspect to the station for interrogation.

Are Miranda Rights Really an Extension the Fifth Amendment?

Fundamentally, the Fifth Amendment states that any person suspected of capital or any other serious crimes shall not be convicted unless it’s with the permission of the Grand jury. The only exception to this provision is the military when they are inline of duty during times of war or when there is public danger. Nobody can be tried again for the same crime at the same level. And that no one can be forced to bear witness under oath against him/herself (Greenfield & Witt 2005). No one shall be incarcerated, executed are have their property searched or taken by police lacking an officially authorized permission.


Miranda Rights

Miranda rights are extended from the Fifth Amendment to safeguard n suspects from coercive interrogations ands as such, event the prosecutors are refrained from making comments about the post arrest silence shown by suspects who bring into play their Miranda rights immediately following an arrest. The Fifth Amendment and the Miranda rights do not however cover the post-arrest silence (Holland 2006). The constitution clarifies that when a person is charged for the same offense, that no execution or jail term will be passed without providing the possibility of parole. Also being forced to testify against you under the oath can force someone to tell the truth which can lead to more trouble.

There are some previous cases that also prompted the Supreme Court to create e the Miranda rights;

Mapp vs. Ohio (1961); in their pursuit for a suspect, police officers entered Dollie Mapp’s home, the officer failed to find the person they were in pursuit of rather they decided to arrest Ms Mapp for possession of obscene literature without a search warrant for the obscene literature. Ms Mapp’s conviction was overturned (Greenfield & Witt 2005).

Escobedo vs. Illinois (1964); Danny Escobedo confessed to a murders during an interview with the police but later changed his mind and asked the police to allow him talk to a lawyer. Some documents were produced indicating that the police had been trained to pay no heed to the rights of the suspects in the process of their questioning. The Supreme Court threw out the case citing that Escobedo’s confession was done unlawfully and was not to be used as evidence.

It’s important to note that the Miranda right do not in any way offer protect against arrests in that case. All the police officer need to do is to have a probable case for them be able to make a legal arrest. This is a sufficient basis based on ideas and events to suppose the person really committed the crime. The police without reading then Miranda rights can ask routine questions like name, date of birth, house address, personal identity and social security number. The police


Miranda Rights

officers can also carry out simple test like drug tests, alcohol tests without caution though the people being searches may refuse to give answers during such tests.

Do Miranda Rights Really Serve Their Purpose?

Before the establishment of the Miranda Rights, police interrogations were mostly characterized by force, hostility, assaults and coercion tactics to make the suspects confess to serious crimes. The police showed no regard to the rights of the suspects whatsoever. Police applied the tactics that they were previous taught at the police academy, the ask fist warn later tactic ensured that confession was obtained first and this actually violated the fifth and six amendment rights of the suspects (Hoover 2005). The Supreme Court has however declared that such tactics are unconstitutional since the use of force violates the rights of self incrimination. The police are supposed to enforce the law and maintain order and they themselves have to adhere to the laws as well. Other reasons have also bee citied in revoking coerced interrogation and they include forged confession, unintentional confession, and legitimacy of waiver and also the mental status of the suspect (Hoover 2005).

In some instances, the police officer may perceive that the suspect is guilty and would not admit; the policed officer then decide to hunt the suspect in a hostile way taking the law in his hands. This is termed self help, used to obtain confession from a suspect, the police though could be doing this for the greater benefit of the entire society, the act is illegal (Holland 2006). However despite the reasons cited to oppose the coerced interrogation there are some cases where the truth has been brought out this way. Thomas III (1960) claimed that the police officers usually recite the Miranda Rights all the time they apprehend a suspect. After this many suspects choose to relinquish their rights and request for lawyers before they answer any questions asked. Not always does coercion occur (Hoover 2005). Thomas was disputed as having no idea of what really happens.

The Miranda Rights sometimes abuses the pursuit of the real truths and has forced the Criminal justice Systems into observing the rights of criminal seriously. The case of Brewer vs. Williams fro instance (Hoover 2005). The Suspect, Robert A. Williams did not make a legitimate surrender of his Miranda Rights during his interrogation, in the process, the police denied him


Miranda Rights

the right to counsel ands even declared that the suspect had relinquished his rights voluntarily. Williams was hoaxed into confession about the place where he had hidden the body of a ten year old boy whom he had taken hostage and put to death (Brewer V. Williams, 430 U.S. 387 (1977). The court ascertained that Williams did not voluntarily relinquish his Miranda rights since for a person to do so he must fully comprehend the terms and also since the suspect requested for a lawyer several times: The police had played a trick on him. As a consequence, the confession was thrown out because of breach of Miranda Rights.

Miranda vs. Arizona has been cited in numerous cases following the holding of Miranda vs. Arizona which made Brewer vs. Williams a case law; a case law is a Court Case in which Holding is brought into play in further cases after the court’s decision. The court also established that the exclusionary provision in the case of Brewer vs. Williams was inappropriate and that it failed to recognize the right to counsel (Brewer V. Williams

, 430 U.S. 387 (1977)

. In such circumstances, the exclusionary rule remains unsubstantiated including additional cases described Brewer vs. Williams as a case law. In this regard, the exclusionary rule safeguards suspect from conviction from wrongfully acquired evidence

(Grant & Terry 2005)


The court is obliged to uphold the rights of suspects. In order to ensure this is done, two doctrines were established;

First is the common law rule – according to this principle, the evidence acquired or any confession made by the suspect as a result of coercion were to be excluded from the court. Second is the constitutional law- under this principle, a suspect is describes interrogation clearly that a suspect should not be forced to offer a confession of testify against self. Authorities question why suspects are found to have given false confession if they were not guilty after all (Holland 2006)


Confessions from suspect are usually not taken by the courts before they establish their validity.


Miranda Rights

The court must analyze the ability of the suspect to comprehend his/her rights according to the Fifth Amendment and Miranda warning. To stop the courts from coming to a decision that the confession was voluntary, there are set questions that are usually asked for this case. For instance, whether the suspect really understands the right to silence or right to counsel and the theory of self incrimination? Additionally, the mental status of the suspect must be assessed as well. Other factions include age, influence of alcohol or drugs, ability to understand English and also effects of medical conditions

(Grant & Terry 2005).

Critics to the Miranda Law

The doctrine under Miranda has been termed bay some analysts as unconstitutional ands not beneficial in any way to administering of justice in the criminal justice system. The only thing that it offers is to give the suspects the right to speak later when the attorney is present. The Miranda Rights is unconstitutional since it does not follow or obey the exclusionary rule provided in the fourth amendment. Rather the Miranda Rights uphold their own exclusionary laws to workings. One may wonder whether to follow the US constitution or follow the provisions in the Miranda Law. If the constitution is prevailing over Miranda law, then there will be very little to zero errors in terms of carrying out investigations (Grant & Terry 2005).

Miranda law presents another technicality that hinders criminal investigation since its uncalled for and non-constitutional in context. Furthermore it’s not indicated anywhere in the US constitution. It’s sensible to follow the rules in the constitution and not just any other laws that come about (Grant & Terry 2005).


Despite the examination that Miranda rights have been exposed to, they are still entrenched in the American Culture. Miranda law did not highlight the events of intentional, unintentional and coerced confessions or the validity of waiver. Other cases have risen since then causing many problems of single coerced confession. The Miranda law conflicts the constitution and has over


Miranda Rights

protected the suspects. It affects exclusionary law, appropriate interrogation means and legitimacy of Waiver.


Miranda Rights


Brewer V. Williams, 430 U.S. 387 (1977)

Grant H. B. & Terry K.J. (2005). Law Enforcement in the Twenty- First Century. Pearson Education Incorporated. P 181-184.

Greenfield, D.P. & Witt P.H. (2005). Evaluating Adult Miranda Waiver Competency. The Journal of Psychiatry and Law 33(47) P. 472-489.

Hattendorf, R. L. (2005). Interrogation and Confession. . Retrieved On10th October 2009 from North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police

Holland, P. (2006). Schooling Miranda – – Policing Interrogation in the Twenty-First Century


Miranda Rights

Schoolhouse.                                                                                                  Loyal Law Review. 52(1), 39-113.

Hoover L.A. (2005). The Supreme Court Brings An End To The “End Run” Around. Miranda. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin P26- 32

Mapp v. Ohio,

367 U.S. 643 (1961)

Miranda V. Arizona. (2006). Miranda V. Arizona. Retrieved On10th October 2009 From Http://S upreme.Lp.Findlaw.Com/Documents/Miranda.Html