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Significance of Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Image Source: The Republic

You may be familiar with the phrase, “you have the right to remain silent” while binge-watching through your favorite TV series. However, you may not have known that prior to 1966, the police were not responsible for informing those arrested for crimes of their Constitutional right to remain silent. It wasn’t until after the Miranda v. Arizona case that established the right to the public was changed.

To start off, the case first began with the arrest of Ernesto Miranda in 1963, who was charged with kidnapping and rape. He was arrested in his home and brought to the police station, where he was interrogated for two hours by several police officers. The officers eventually obtained a written confession from Miranda admitting to the charges. During the trial, the police officers had admitted that they did not inform Miranda of his rights as well as the fact that they had interrogated Miranda without his attorney present. Miranda’s written confession played an extremely vital role during the Arizona court, where he was found guilty and was sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. Though Miranda’s attorney believed that the written commission is not admissible, the Arizona State Supreme Court believed otherwise and continued to uphold the conviction.

Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the court had a 5-4 ruling that sided with Miranda. Initially, Miranda’s attorneys were structuring their argument on the basis that Miranda’s rights had been violated during the interrogation, ultimately citing the Sixth Amendment. However, the Court mainly emphasized the Fifth Amendment, stating that protection against self-incrimination.

In the majority opinion written by Chief Warren, he had stated that "without proper safeguards, the process of in-custody interrogation of persons suspected or accused of crime contains inherently compelling pressures which work to undermine the individual’s will to resist and to compel him to speak where he would otherwise do so freely." (Etters, 2016). Though Miranda was not released from prison for robbery, he was retried for his convictions of kidnapping and sexual assault without his written confession.

The Miranda rights were created after the decision made by the Supreme Court. The Miranda rights state that: “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 an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

The results of this case have made a significant impact on our society today. Fifty years later, the Miranda rights are part of standard arrest procedure in the United States. The rights that were established from the Miranda Rights have been the theme behind The American Bar Association’s Law Day, which honors the principles of liberty, justice, and life (Etters, 2016).



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