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How familiar is this statement


1. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.


. As we discuss this matter, you have a right to stop answering my questions at any time you desire.


. You have a right to a lawyer before speaking to me, to remain silent until you can talk to him or her, and to have your lawyer present when you are being questioned.


Cheap College Papers on Miranda v. Arizona




4. If you want a lawyer but cannot afford one, one will be provided to you without cost.


5. Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you?


6. Now that I have advised you of your rights, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?


Everyone is familiar with this statement in one form or another. Whether it was seen on television or used on you directly this statement has become an essential part of a term we call Due Process of Law. Its name is the Miranda Warnings taken from the case of Miranda v. Arizona. It is interesting how such a statement can be overlooked time and time again. One never really takes into account what this statement means and why police authorities have to use it. In this essay I will explain its origin and what it has meant to the United States since its inclusion at times of arrest.


Before I decipher each statement let me shed some light on where is came from. Ernesto Miranda was a poor Mexican immigrant who in 16 was arrested on kidnapping and rape charges. The defendant (Ernesto Miranda) was identified in a police lineup, was then questioned, and his confession was used at trial. After this he was convicted to 60 years in prison. The defendant appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Arizona on the basis that he was not given due process of the law because the police never read him his Fifth Amendment rights, which are his right to counsel, and his right not to incriminate himself. The Arizona Supreme Court of Arizona upheld the ruling of the lower court. This was done even though Miranda’s attorney argued that that his confession should not have been used in his trial because Miranda had not been informed of his rights, and no attorney had been present to assist him during his interrogation. Taking it one step further Miranda then appealed his case to the Supreme Court of the United States and on June 1, 166. The Supreme Court after reviewing all the facts decided to reverse the Arizona court’s conviction of Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges agreeing that the defendant did not receive the due process of the law. Specifically it was noted that since his Fifth Amendment right was taken away from him by the Arizona police, “...if an accused is not already informed of his rights, or did not understand them, a confession is inadmissible. Now this decision has not only changed the rules and regulations in Arizona alone, but has changed society on a much larger scale as well.


Now that we have some information on how the Miranda Warnings came into affect lets look at what they actually mean form the courts point of view. These statements and questions were implemented to ensure that every defendant is given due process of the law and it was also a way to ensure that Miranda v. Arizona will not occur again. Here are the reasons behind each statement as seen by the court of law. When it comes to the right to remain silent the court states that, “the warning of the right to remain silent must be accompanied by the explanation that anything said can and will be used against the individual in court. This warning is needed in order to make him aware not only of the privilege, but also of the consequences of forgoing it. . . . [T]his warning may serve to make the individual more acutely aware that he is faced with a phase of the adversary system-that he is not in the presence of persons acting solely in his interests. . . .” The right to have an attorney present is described by the court as, “If an individual indicates that he wishes the assistance of counsel before any interrogation occurs, the authorities cannot rationally ignore or deny his request on the basis that the individual does not have or cannot afford a retained attorney . . .. The privilege against self-incrimination secured by the Constitution applies to all individuals. The need for counsel in order to protect the privilege exists for the indigent as well as the affluent. . . .” Going further into detail on the issue of interrogation the courts states, “. . . [W]e hold that an individual held for interrogation must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation under the system for protecting the privilege today. . . . No amount of circumstantial evidence that the person may have been aware of this right will suffice to stand in its stead Only through such a warning is there ascertainable assurance that the accused was aware of this right.” Now in a summation of the whole statement we see, “The principles announced today deal with the protection which must be given to the privilege against self-incrimination when the individual is first subjected to police interrogation while in custody at the station or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. It is at this point that our adversary system of criminal proceedings commences, distinguishing itself at the outset from the inquisitorial system recognized in some countries. Under the system of warnings we delineate today or under any other system which may be devised and found effective, the safeguards to be erected about the privilege must come into play at this point. . . .” Now the Court specifically broke down each line of the warning further to show the importance of why they were used. This was outlined not only to help the arresting officer understand how important it is to say at the time of arrest but also to the suspect to ensure that they are treated fairly.


Now the case itself was not so easily decided. Actually it was split, and in the final ruling was 5 to 4 in favor of the defendant. As with all big cases judges make statement regarding the opinions of the decision, I will take a look at the dissenting opinion and to see why these judges felt different from the majority. In the dissenting opinion the Justices stated that the court’s ruling “represents poor constitutional law and entails harmful consequences for the country at large. How serious these consequences may prove to be only time can tell. But the basic flaws in the Courts justification seem to me readily apparent now once all sides of the problem are considered. . . .” They also speak about the Miranda warnings, “the new rules are not designed to guard against police brutality or other unmistakably banned forms of coercion. Those who use third-degree tactics and deny them in court are equally able and destined to lie as skillfully about warnings and waivers. Rather, the thrust of the new rules is to negate all pressures, to reinforce the nervous or ignorant suspect, and ultimately to discourage any confession at all. The aim in short is toward voluntariness in a utopian sense, or to view it from a different angle, voluntariness with a vengeance. . . .” The dissenting opinion of the Court rested more on the nature of the crime committed, unlike the majority opinion of the court that rested their decision more on legal procedure, “Yet the resulting confessions, and the responsible course of police practice they represent, are to be sacrificed to the Courts own finespun conception of fairness.” Here we see that the dissenting judges were looking at the case not from the perspective of a criminal act that was committed by authorities by not reading Miranda his rights, but from the perspective that when all is said and done the actual factor is that he was accused of kidnapping and rape which is what should have been looked at. Now they go on to say that by looking at it in the legal aspect and not by the actual crime a great injustice was done to society one a whole.


Now the Miranda v. Arizona case went on to be the leading case that other cases tried to rest itself on. Two notable cases were Harris v. New York (171) in which Harris was arrested for selling heroin to an undercover police officer and was not given his Miranda warnings when he told the police that he did sell heroin to the undercover officer. Therefore the statement was not used at his trial but when he took the stand the defendant contradicted what he said previously. The Supreme Court ruled that the Miranda doctrine could not be “perverted into a license to use perjury by way of a defense, free from the risk of confrontation with prior inconsistent utterances.” And Michigan v. Tucker where the defendant was warned of his right to remain silent but not of his right to an attorney. In the defendant’s statement he identified someone as a potential witness and when the case went to trial the defense attorney argued that the witness could not testify because it was “derivative evidence that came out of the defendant’s statement. The Supreme Court ruled that the defendant could testify because the defendant was warned of his right against self-discrimination. Both of these cases tried in some way or another to state that portions of the Miranda Warnings were not stated and used so there the defendants should not be tried for their crimes, but as we see its not as easy as that to get off.


In conclusion Miranda v. Arizona was one the biggest cases to change the way society fucntions. Its is right up there with Brown v. Board of Education, Rowe v. Wade, and Plessy v. Ferguson. All have shaped society to make it what it is today. On a personal note, being an Afro-Caribbena man from the inner city I wish all people would study cases such as these it would help the countless number of people being incarcerated each day. If they would just be informed it could actually save their life. After all aren’t we all in pursuit for LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE AMERICAN DREAM.





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