During amendment rights include a person right to remain

During 1966 a
series of similar trials took place, the most famous of which was and still is
Miranda v Arizona but there were four different cases all with a similar issue
at the same time. They all involved ethical practices during interrogations of
a suspect for a crime and in all four of them they had not been told their 5th
amendment rights before questioning or after the arrest. A person 5th
amendment rights include a person right to remain silent instated because of their
right against self-incrimination and right to an attorney. The initial case was
cut and dry. On March 13, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and rape
of an eighteen-year-old women 10 days earlier, he was then identified by the victim
in a lineup and interrogated for two hours eventually signing a confession document
stating “”I do hereby swear that I make this statement voluntarily
and 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 make
may be used against me.” (Wiki) This document acknowledge that he had full
understanding of his legal rights but during the trial his attorney argued
otherwise, that Ernesto Hernandez was not read his legal rights and thus the
confession was invalid. (landmark cases)


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The other notable
cases for this issue, which were all taking place at about the same time and considered
by the supreme court at the time were Vignera v. New York, Westover v United
States and California v. Stewart and all three were reviewed in making their
decision (study.com). Each of the other cases dealt with similar issues. In
Westover V United states, Westover had been arrested by the FBI and signed
statements without being informed about his right to an attorney. In Vignera v.
New York the defendant was “questioned by police, made
oral admissions, and signed an inculpatory statement all without being notified
of his right to counsel” (quizet) and in California v. Stewart city police held
a suspect for five days without informing him of his right to an attorney. All
of these examples had the potential to be the issue than the Miranda rights
was, and in my opinion California v. Stewarts officers breached a person right
worse than in Miranda v Arizona but the Miranda rights is the one that has
stayed in the public zeitgeist longest. Each of these boiled down to one issue
though, can anything a defendant says be held as evidence if they were not made
aware of their rights? On one hand an argument can be made that every American should
be aware of their rights. how in high school a simple civics course probably
contains a coverage of everyone’s rights as an American. Additionally, the
defendant was guilty, by his own admission, should we really make this much of
a 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 impact
law 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 there
rights what could stop law enforcement from adopting an It is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission
attitude with people’s rights. The law enforcement has procedure to ensure the
rights of law abiding citizens do not feel the full force of the law when they
do not deserve it.



After being argued
February 28th through March 1st, 1966 on June 23th 1966 the
supreme court decided 5-4 in favor of the defendant. They decided Miranda’s 5th
amendment rights had been violated and that the prosecution was not allowed to
use the statements from the interrogation, and thus his Ernesto Miranda’s confession
in the prosecution. It also established that the government needed to establish
protections to ensure that in the future people’s rights were protected. Thusly
a person’s rights, (now nicknamed their Miranda rights) must be read to every
defendant prior to questioning these rights are as follows “the right to remain
silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that
he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford
an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so
desires.” (uscourts.gov).

Some dissenting judges
worried that the new rules would weaken law enforcements ability to do their
jobs effectively. Additionally, the fifth amendment did not have any specific ban
against law enforcement from questioning people. Along with weakening law enforcements
capabilities it also meant giving a confessed rapist, one that might get off on
a technicality without the confession in question, a re-trial. While the
official 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 them
as well.

After the supreme
court trial ended Miranda went back to trial and the jury, defense, and
offense, were all not allowed to acknowledge his now defunct, prior confession during
the trial. Unsurprisingly he was still found guilty. The evidence mounted against
him despite the lack of his confession being introduced to the court in which
he was tried was enough to re-jail him and he was sentenced to 20-30 years.  


In my opinion this
is one of the most important cases in American history. I agree with how the
trial turned out, how without the confession available they still convicted Miranda
of rape. Additionally, with such a stern ruleset surrounding arrests it helped ensure
that every person’s rights were the same under the law. It ensured that no one
individual may be taken advantage of because they were unaware of their own
rights. If I was alive in 1966 I know I would have been with the dissenting
judges. I would have seen this as just a senseless loophole some lawyer who was
way too good at his job came up with to help his client who was a confessed
rapist. I also would have been upset with the court for making their decision
which may have allowed a rapist to go free. I would have been wrong. Along with
laws against unlawful search and seizure, the Miranda rights defend citizens
from being taken advantage of. Hindsight is 20/20 and having grown up in a post
1966 world I now see that without such stern stances on these issues it could
result very badly as a more relaxed ruleset would encourage police officers to
ignore the law.