According to Meter (11), when people are arrested, the police must inform them of their rights. The entire set of instructions to accused criminals, known as “The Miranda Warning”, directly resulted from the famous Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. This case was a result of the arrest of Ernesto Miranda who was arrested and convicted of raping a woman. He protested to the Supreme Court that he should not have been convicted. Alvin Moore, Miranda’s court-appointed attorney, claimed that the trial court made an error by entering Miranda’s confession into evidence (Hook 21). According to Hook (27), Moore’s appeal claimed that Miranda was never informed of his right to have a lawyer present during his police interrogation. His confession, therefore, should not have been admitted into evidence at trial.
The Supreme Court determined 5 to 4 that the police had to follow certain procedures to ensure the protection of a criminal suspect’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Without Miranda warnings, the court deemed, prosecutors could not use statements made by defendants under interrogation (Silver 1). According to (Oyez 1), the Supreme Court held that the prosecution may not use statements arising from a custodial interrogation of a suspect unless certain procedural safeguards were in place. The safeguards included proof that the suspect was aware of his right to be silent, any statement he makes would be used against him, has the right for an attorney to be present, a right to have an attorney appointed to him, waive these rights voluntarily and if he requests for an attorney, there will be no further questioning until the arrival of the attorney.
Dissenting Judge, Justice Tom C. Clark argued that the majority’s opinion created an
unnecessarily strict interpretation of the Fifth Amendment that curtails the ability of the police to
effectively execute their duties. Justice John M. Harlan another of the dissenting judges, argued
that there was no legal precedent to support the requirement to specifically inform suspects of
their rights. Another dissenting judge also argued that custodial interrogation was not inherently
coercive and the interpretation by the assenting judges would cause harm in the criminal process
by destroying the credibility of confessions (Oyez 2). The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of those arrested to remain silent – to refuse to speak to interrogators without presumption of guilt. The Sixth Amendment also constitutionally guarantees the right of a suspect to be represented by a lawyer, not only at trial, but before and during interrogation as well.
In conclusion, this case shall create loopholes for suspects to get away with crimes they have committed if the arresting officer forgets to read them their “Miranda.” This can also give a rise to many victims taking the law into their own hands to serve judgment if the suspects are set free. Miranda can also delay in investigations and apprehension of other suspects in a case, allowing them to get away from law enforcement. After the case of Miranda v. Arizona, it is more likely that these incidents shall arise, but not as frequent, because even the law enforcement officers are human, and in the heat of the moment while arresting a suspect, they could forget to read them their rights thus having no case against them later on in court.
Hook, Sue. Miranda v. Arizona: An Individual’s Rights When under Arrest. ABDO Publishing Company, 2012.
Meter, Larry. Miranda v. Arizona: The Rights of the Accused. Infobase Publishing, 2006.
Oyez. Miranda v. Arizona, 2018, www.oyez.org/cases/1965/759. Accessed 8 Apr. 2018.
Silver, Alexandra. Miranda v. Arizona, 2010, http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2036448_2036452_2036453,00.html. Accessed 8 Apr. 2018.