During 1966 aseries of similar trials took place, the most famous of which was and still isMiranda v Arizona but there were four different cases all with a similar issueat the same time. They all involved ethical practices during interrogations ofa suspect for a crime and in all four of them they had not been told their 5thamendment rights before questioning or after the arrest. A person 5thamendment rights include a person right to remain silent instated because of theirright against self-incrimination and right to an attorney. The initial case wascut and dry.
On March 13, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and rapeof an eighteen-year-old women 10 days earlier, he was then identified by the victimin a lineup and interrogated for two hours eventually signing a confession documentstating “”I do hereby swear that I make this statement voluntarilyand of my own free will, with no threats, coercion, or promises of immunity,and with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I makemay be used against me.” (Wiki) This document acknowledge that he had fullunderstanding of his legal rights but during the trial his attorney arguedotherwise, that Ernesto Hernandez was not read his legal rights and thus theconfession was invalid. (landmark cases) ArgumentsThe other notablecases for this issue, which were all taking place at about the same time and consideredby the supreme court at the time were Vignera v. New York, Westover v UnitedStates and California v. Stewart and all three were reviewed in making theirdecision (study.com). Each of the other cases dealt with similar issues. InWestover V United states, Westover had been arrested by the FBI and signedstatements without being informed about his right to an attorney.
In Vignera v.New York the defendant was “questioned by police, madeoral admissions, and signed an inculpatory statement all without being notifiedof his right to counsel” (quizet) and in California v. Stewart city police helda suspect for five days without informing him of his right to an attorney.
Allof these examples had the potential to be the issue than the Miranda rightswas, and in my opinion California v. Stewarts officers breached a person rightworse than in Miranda v Arizona but the Miranda rights is the one that hasstayed in the public zeitgeist longest. Each of these boiled down to one issuethough, can anything a defendant says be held as evidence if they were not madeaware of their rights? On one hand an argument can be made that every American shouldbe aware of their rights.
how in high school a simple civics course probablycontains a coverage of everyone’s rights as an American. Additionally, thedefendant was guilty, by his own admission, should we really make this much ofa fuss over a rapist who had been identified by the victim and signed a confession?Additionally, there was debate at the time over if this would severely impactlaw enforcement officers from being able to do their jobs. On the other hand,without rules, and laws set in place to defend people and inform them of thererights what could stop law enforcement from adopting an It is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permissionattitude with people’s rights. The law enforcement has procedure to ensure therights of law abiding citizens do not feel the full force of the law when theydo not deserve it.Outcome After being arguedFebruary 28th through March 1st, 1966 on June 23th 1966 thesupreme court decided 5-4 in favor of the defendant. They decided Miranda’s 5thamendment rights had been violated and that the prosecution was not allowed touse the statements from the interrogation, and thus his Ernesto Miranda’s confessionin the prosecution. It also established that the government needed to establishprotections to ensure that in the future people’s rights were protected.
Thuslya person’s rights, (now nicknamed their Miranda rights) must be read to everydefendant prior to questioning these rights are as follows “the right to remainsilent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, thathe has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot affordan attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he sodesires.” (uscourts.gov). Some dissenting judgesworried that the new rules would weaken law enforcements ability to do theirjobs effectively. Additionally, the fifth amendment did not have any specific banagainst law enforcement from questioning people. Along with weakening law enforcementscapabilities it also meant giving a confessed rapist, one that might get off ona technicality without the confession in question, a re-trial. While theofficial dissenters were based on ensuring law enforcement could do their jobs,I’m sure that the idea of possibly letting a confessed rapist off worried themas well.
After the supremecourt trial ended Miranda went back to trial and the jury, defense, andoffense, were all not allowed to acknowledge his now defunct, prior confession duringthe trial. Unsurprisingly he was still found guilty. The evidence mounted againsthim despite the lack of his confession being introduced to the court in whichhe was tried was enough to re-jail him and he was sentenced to 20-30 years. OpinionIn my opinion thisis one of the most important cases in American history. I agree with how thetrial turned out, how without the confession available they still convicted Mirandaof rape. Additionally, with such a stern ruleset surrounding arrests it helped ensurethat every person’s rights were the same under the law.
It ensured that no oneindividual may be taken advantage of because they were unaware of their ownrights. If I was alive in 1966 I know I would have been with the dissentingjudges. I would have seen this as just a senseless loophole some lawyer who wasway too good at his job came up with to help his client who was a confessedrapist. I also would have been upset with the court for making their decisionwhich may have allowed a rapist to go free. I would have been wrong. Along withlaws against unlawful search and seizure, the Miranda rights defend citizensfrom being taken advantage of. Hindsight is 20/20 and having grown up in a post1966 world I now see that without such stern stances on these issues it couldresult very badly as a more relaxed ruleset would encourage police officers toignore the law.