In 1963, police officers in Phoenix Arizona arrested Ernesto Miranda on suspicion of kidnaping and rape. He was then taken to the police station for a custodial interrogation. During this interrogation, police officers failed to inform E. Miranda of his right against self incrimination and his right to have an attorney present during the process of his custodial interrogation. Subsequently, while being questioned by the police, Ernesto Miranda confessed to the accused crimes. Prosecutors for the case submitted this confession as evidence against Miranda and in turn received a conviction ruling finding Miranda guilty on both charges (Wikipedia, Miranda v. Arizona). Based on the conviction by the court, Miranda and his attorney filed an appeal with The Supreme Court of Arizona, on the basis that his client had not been properly informed of his rights and that his attorney had not been present. However, the police argued that Miranda had prior convictions and should have know what his rights were. The Supreme Court of Arizona denied Miranda’s appeal and allowed his conviction to stand (Landmark Cases: The Supreme Court). This decision led The United States Supreme Court to agree to hearing the Miranda case.
After hearing the case, The United States Supreme Court made their decision on June 13, 1966 in the case of Miranda v. Arizona which held that:
(1) Law enforcement officers may not use statements made by persons taken into custody or otherwise detained with out the use of proper “procedural safeguards” to protect ones fifth amendment rights (LexisNexis, Doc. 3). (2) In addition, it was said that the environment under which interrogations take place are “inherently intimidating” and that statements gathered while in custody are invalid unless proper measures are taken to dispel the intimidation factor that leads to the undermining of ones “privilege against self-incrimination” (LexisNexis, Doc. 3). (3) The court also holds that a person has “the right to remain silent unless he chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own will” (LexisNexis, Doc. 3), and that after a person is taken into custody, before an interrogation can take place the person must be informed that “he(she) has the right to remain silent, and that anything he(she) says will be used against him(her) in court; he(she) must be clearly informed that he(she) has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him(her) during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him(her)” (LexisNexis, Doc. 3). The remaining information in the courts decision go into detail about the legality of interrogations with or with out a lawyer, and the rights of a person to speak and not speak at anytime during the interrogation (LexisNexis, Doc. 3).
In the case of Miranda v. Arizona, the fifth amendment was upheld by The United States Supreme Court which protects the rights one has against self- incrimination, and upheld the right to have proper representation while in custodial interrogation (which was also defined in the courts decision). The fourteenth amendment was also upheld in the courts decision; the court followed the due process clause for state proceedings outlined in the fourteenth amendment by allowing for the right against self- incrimination in the Miranda case and recognizing that Miranda had no lawyer representing him during the custodial interrogation, which is allowed for in the due process clause.
The Miranda v. Arizona case is one that I am fairly familiar with. I already knew the basic result of the courts decisions before I reviewed the case. I was not however , familiar with all the other specifications included in the Miranda decision. While the decision does allow for a guilty person to go free if the proper procedure are not followed, I believe that this was an important decision made by the court system. It is probably one of the most important decisions as far as informing people of their rights as well as assisting the accused with counsel to aid in their defense. If the decision had not been made to protect these fundamental rights, interrogations, investigations and arrests would be very different today.
1. “Miranda v. Arizona.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 25 October 2006.
Date accessed: 26 October 2006. http://www.wikipedia.com>
2. “Miranda v. Arizona (3).” LexisNexis. 2006. Date accessed: 26
October 2006. http://www.LexisNexis.com>