The Miranda Decision Essay

1769 words - 7 pages

The Miranda Decision

In 1966, the U. S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Miranda
v. Arizona. The Miranda decision was a departure from the established law in the area of
police interrogation. Prior to Miranda, a confession would be suppressed only if a court
determined it resulted from some actual coercion, threat, or promise. The Miranda
decision was intended to protect suspects of their 5th Amendment right of no
self-incrimination. The verdict of Miranda v. Arizona is an efficient way of informing
criminal suspects of their rights established by the Constitution, allowing un-Constitutional
confessions to be nullinvoid in the court of law. However, it does not enforce it well
enough. For example, a statement taken in violation of Miranda can be used for
impeachment purposes and deciding whether evidence derived from a Miranda violation is
admissible. Also, Miranda applies to undercover police interrogation and prior to routine
booking questions, protecting all suspect in American custody to be aware of their rights.
Next, it says that police may not continue to interrogate a suspect after he makes a request
for a lawyer.
At approximately 8:30 p.m. on November 27, 1962, a young woman left the First
National Bank of Arizona after attending night classes. A male suspect robbed the woman
of $8 at knife-point after forcing his way into her car. Four months later, the same suspect
abducted an 18-year-old girl at knife-point and, after tying her hands and feet, drove to a
secluded area of the desert and raped her. On March 13, 1963, police arrested
23-year-old Ernesto Arthur Miranda as a suspect in the two crimes. Miranda had a prior
arrest record for armed robbery and a juvenile record for, among other things, attempted
rape, assault, and burglary. Both victims viewed corporeal lineups and identified Miranda
as their attacker. The police questioned Miranda, and he confessed to both crimes. He
signed a confession to the rape that included a typed paragraph explaining that the
statement was made voluntarily without threats or promises of immunity and that he had
full knowledge of his rights and understood that the statement could be used against him.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court reversed Miranda's conviction and ordered that the
confession in the rape case be suppressed. The Court ruled that "an individual held for
interrogation must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and
have the lawyer with him during inter-rogation...[that he has] the right to remain silent and
that anything stated can be used in evidence against him...that if he is indigent a lawyer
will be appointed to represent him" (US Suprime Court). The Court reasoned that all
custodial police interrogations are inherently coercive and could never result in a voluntary
statement in the absence of a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of the rights
enumerated in the Miranda warnings....

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