I am going to be discussing the Miranda rights. What they mean to you to me and you, what they entitle you to, and how they came to be implemented in law enforcement today. I am interested in this topic because as a United States citizen like many others, everyone should know their rights and protections of those rights. Miranda can be very difficult to understand to many. It is important to have a general sense of understanding about these rights because if they are not read properly to you when you are placed under an arrest it could actually get you off and case dropped. Lets start off by discussing the history of Miranda Rights and some details of the Miranda case that started it all.
Miranda came about in 1966, when a 23-year-old, name Miranda, was arrested and transported from his home to the police station for questioning in connections with a kidnapping and a rape case. (1) According the to facts and case summary, “He was then interrogated by two police officers for two hours, which resulted in a signed, written confession. At trial, the oral and written confessions were presented to the jury. Miranda was found guilty of kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to 20-30 years imprisonment on each count”. (1) Miranda was a poor and uneducated man. He was nowhere near equipped mentally or intellectually prepared for the opposition he faced in court.
Miranda v Arizona on appeal went all the way to the Supreme Court of. There they ruled that the police do have a responsibility to inform a subject of an interrogation of their constitutional rights. The constitutional rights have to do with self-incrimination, and the right to counsel before, during and after questioning.
What does this mean to you and me? If you are ever arrested for being suspected of a crime, the police are legally required to inform you of your Miranda rights. If they do not do this and they start to ask you questions, and interrogate you, then anything you say cannot be used against you in court, and you could have the charges dropped. The police are not supposed to question you at all unless you have been read your Miranda rights and you then waive those rights. You can waive your rights either verbally tell the officer you waive your rights, or by signing a rights waiver form.
The actual Miranda warning is very short and to the point, it states as follows:
1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to an attorney and have him present with you while you are being questioned.
4. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you wish.
5. You can decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer any questions or make any statements.
6. Do you understand your rights?
The phrase “You have the right to remain silent” relates to the purpose of the Fifth Amendment. This means that during questioning you have the right to not answer any questions that might incriminate you of the crime. This avoids self incriminating your self, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, which originated from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless the state proves use of procedural precautions effective to protected privilege against self-incrimination, the safe guards are the waiver form that a suspect may or may not sign. If you choose to invoke these rights you cannot be penalized in court for it while a person is under custodial interrogation. At any point in the interrogation a person may invoke his/her right, and questioning must be stopped.
The second phrase “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” means that anything you do say after you are mirandized can be recorded and then brought back up and used against you in court. If you do however chose to freely disclose information it will be brought up in court, either against you, or in