The “Miranda Rights” afford American one of the most important civil liberties of the criminal justice system. Miranda dictates that any person in police custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed of the following rights:
- The right to remain silent; that anything the person says will be used against that person in court;
-The right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning,
- If the person is unable to garner their own attorney, that one will be provided at the cost of the state.
The Miranda rights were determined after the landmark ruling of the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda vs. Arizona. The case followed the 1963 arrest of Ernesto Miranda after he was arrested and charged with sexual assault, kidnapping, and robbery. Miranda was then into custody and questioned by police, eventually admitting to the crimes. However, prior to the arrest, Miranda was never ware of his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and his 6th Amendment right to an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning. Ernesto Miranda was later told to submit his confession in writing. However, according to Miranda’s court-appointed attorney Alvin Moore, entered an objection during the criminal trial that the statement was not made voluntarily and was therefore inadmissible. However, the objection was overruled and Miranda was subsequently convicted.
Moore and Miranda then filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme court, arguing that the confession was not made with Miranda’s free will. Ultimately, it was the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren that any self-incriminating statements made to police, without first being informed of the 5th and 6th Constitutional Amendments, were inadmissible. Warren ruled that:
“The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.”
“If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease … If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning.”
As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, Miranda’s conviction was overturned. However, he was later retried, convicted, and sentenced to 20-30 years. He was paroled in 1972. He was later stabbed to death in 1976.
The two most important things to remember if under arrest are your 5th and 6th Amendment rights. You have the right to remain silent and you have the right to an attorney. If you are under arrest or investigation, invoke your right against self incrimination and demand an attorney before you say anything,