The Miranda Warnings: Origin and Meaning

United States Supreme CourtThe Standard Miranda Warning (Miranda rights)

Law enforcement officers carry with them a form to advise to an individual being arrested:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you."The Origin of the Miranda Warning

In 1963 Ernesto Miranda was arrested in Phoenix as a suspect for kidnapping and rape. Police questioned him. Miranda admitted to the crimes orally and in writing. He did not know he had no obligation to speak to police without a lawyer, or at all. The victim identified him in a lineup.

At trial his attorney objected to the use of his statements. Miranda was convicted. His statements and the identification were the evidence. He was sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. His conviction was appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, which affirmed.

In 1966 his case reached the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that his Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Bill of Rights were violated overturning his conviction. This was the case of Miranda v. Arizona.

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Fifth Amendment covers many subjects: Grand Juries, double jeopardy settlement court the protection of private property. A clause of the Amendment gives rise to the right against self-incrimination. The relevant portion follows:

No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of lawThe Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Miranda Warnings come not only from the Fifth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment addresses many subjects including: speedy trial, jury trial, location of trial and cross examination of witnesses. The Sixth Amendment also includes the right to an attorney:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.Combining the Amendments: The Miranda Warnings

criminal and punishment US Supreme Court decided that if someone was not aware of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, then the right may as well not exist. The Court also relied upon a 1963 case, Gideon v. Wainwright which recognized the right to counsel as critical to civil suit damages persons defense. Unless someone knows that they are entitled to have an attorney that right is practically non-existent as well. Combining the two, the Miranda Warnings were born.

How the Miranda Warnings Work in Criminal Prosecutions

The Warnings are not needed for a criminal prosecution. The lack of warnings does not make lawyers lawsuit arrest invalid. TV police have the time and script writers to see to it that the warnings are integral to the process, but a failure to give warnings only limits evidence that can be used against someone.

The warning process consists of three steps before statements of the accused can be used against him. The warnings must be given, the suspect needs to acknowledge they were given, and he must freely waive his rights. If this is done, the statements and evidence gathered as a result of the statements can be used against him. If these three things do not happen, the evidence is excluded.

Procedurally, this happens by way of motions to suppress statements or evidence. The timing of these motions is addressed in the Felony Process.



What Happened to Ernesto Miranda?

The Supreme Court overturned his conviction. He did not go free. He was tried again. Our Team of Legal Experts Focus on Your Rights & Trying to Dismiss Your Charges Why Us; Years of Proven Experience, Aggressive and proactive approach, High degree of skill, experience, and understanding, Top-quality legal advice and representation, Protect Your Rights, Negotiate Strong Plea Bargains, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.At the new trial he was found guilty, without his statements as evidence. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison, and released in 1972. In 1976 he was killed in a Phoenix bar. A suspect was arrested in his killing. The suspect was advised of his right to remain silent and did so. No one was ever convicted in the killing of Ernesto Miranda.

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