Miranda v. Arizona

Miranda Rights

Miranda v. Arizona, 86 S.Ct. 1602

The Miranda Rights: What are they? Where did they come from? How did we get them?

 

Facts:

On March 13, 1963, petitioner, Ernesto Miranda was arrested at his home and taken into custody to a Phoenix police station for interrogation. Upon concluding the interrogation, the interrogating officers emerged with a written confession signed by Miranda himself. At trial, the officers admitted Miranda was not advised that he had a right to have an attorney present, however, they obtained a written confession that contained a typed paragraph stating that the confession was made voluntarily.  At his trial, Miranda’s written confession was deemed admissible evidence, and Miranda was found guilty of kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to 20 to 30 years imprisonment on each count; the sentences to run concurrently. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Arizona held that Miranda’s constitutional rights were not violated in obtaining the confession and affirmed his conviction.

The case of Miranda v. Arizona was then taken up with the Supreme Court which raised questions about the validity of Miranda’s confession, and whether he was made aware of his rights entitled to him by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Holding:

It was made evident, that prior to interrogation, Miranda was never made aware of his privilege under the Fifth Amendment. Miranda’s confession was deemed inadmissible and the opinion of the court on his confession was reversed.

The Court found that Miranda was not in any way apprised of his right to consult with an attorney and to have one present during the interrogation, nor was his right not to be compelled to incriminate himself effectively protected in any other manner.  Without these warnings, the Court found Miranda’s statements were inadmissible.  They found that the mere fact that Miranda signed a statement that contained a typed-in clause stating that he had ‘full knowledge’ of his ‘legal rights’ does not approach the knowing and intelligent waiver required to relinquish constitutional rights. Defendants must be given a full and effective warning of their rights at the outset of the interrogation process.

Reasoning behind the holding:

The Fifth Amendment protects a person against being compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in a criminal case.

 

 

-He has the right to remain silent. Any statement made may be used

as evidence against him.

 

-He has the right to the presence of an attorney, either retained

 or appointed.

 

 

A confession is voluntary in law if, and only if, it was, in fact, voluntarily made.

 

The warning of the right to remain silent must be accompanied by the explanation that anything said can and will be used against the individual in court.  This warning is needed in order to make the defendant aware not only of the privilege, but also of the consequences of forgoing it. It is only through an awareness of these consequences that there can be any assurance of real understanding and intelligent exercise of the privilege.

 

The Fifth Amendment privilege comprehends not merely a right to consult with counsel prior to questioning, but also to have counsel present during any questioning if the defendant desires. The defendant who does not ask for counsel is the very defendant who most needs counsel. The defendant must also be informed that not only does he have a right to consult with an attorney, but that if he cannot afford one, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.  Without this additional warning, the right to counsel is not effective for the indigent and they are the persons most often subject to interrogation. 

 

The defendant may waive these rights, but the waiver must be made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently.  If at any stage of the process the defendant indicates he wishes to consult with an attorney, the questioning must stop.

 

Due to its recurrent significance, the relationship between the privilege of the Fifth Amendment and police interrogations was further examined by the Supreme Court, using the following cases: No. 760. Vignera v. New York, No. 761. Westover v. United States, No. 584. California v. Stewart, in addition to No. 759. Miranda v. Arizona. Mr. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the court – ‘In each instance, we have concluded that statements were obtained from the defendant under circumstances that did not meet constitutional standards for protection of the privilege.’ To ensure widespread cohesiveness of custodial interrogation practices the Supreme Court issued definitive procedural standards – ‘Miranda Rights’ – that must be met prior to conducting an interrogation of an individual in custody to ensure they are made aware of their rights and their ability to choose to forego them.

 

 

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.22

 

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.22 deems that no written statement made by an accused as a result of custodial interrogation is admissible as evidence against him in any criminal proceeding unless it is shown on the face of the statement that:

The accused, prior to making a statement, received a warning of the following rights:

  1. He has the right to remain silent and not make any statement at all and that any statement he makes may be used against him at his trial;
  2. Any statement he makes may be used against him in court;
  3. He has the right to have a lawyer present to advise him prior to and during any questioning;
  4. If he is unable to employ a lawyer, he has the right to have a lawyer appointed to advise him prior to and during any questioning; and
  5. He has the right to terminate the interview at anytime

The accused, prior to and during the statement, knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the aforementioned rights set out in the warning.

 

Sec. 1.      In this article, a written statement of an accused means:

  1. A statement made by the accused in his own handwriting
  2. A statement made in a language the accused can read or understand that:
    1. Is signed by the accused; or
    2. Bears the mark of the accused, if the accused is unable to write and the mark is witnessed by a person other than a peace officer

 

Sec. 2.   No written statement made by an accused as a result of custodial interrogation is admissible as evidence against him in any criminal proceeding unless it is shown on the face of the statement that:

 

  1.   The accused, prior to making the statement, received a warning of the following rights by either a magistrate or the person to whom the statement is made:

 

  1. He has the right to remain silent and not make any statement at all and that any statement he makes may be used against him at his trial;
  2. Any statement he makes may be used against him in court;
  3. He has the right to have a lawyer present to advise him prior to and during any questioning;
  4. If he is unable to employ a lawyer, he has the right to have a lawyer appointed to advise him prior to and during any questioning; and
  5. He has the right to terminate the interview at anytime

B. The accused, prior to and during the making of the statement, knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the rights set out in the warning.

 

FAQs

If I am arrested and an officer fails to read me my rights, will my charges automatically be dismissed?

  • No. An officer only has to read you your rights if he intends to interrogate you after you have been detained or arrested.

A police officer stopped and asked me questions but did not read me my Miranda Rights. Is this legal?

  • A police officer has the right to ask you questions to which you can choose to answer or politely decline.  However, prior to any custodial interrogation, it is then that the police officer must read to you your Miranda Rights before proceeding with the questioning.

Can I waive my rights after they have been read to me?

  • Yes, you have the right to waive your rights once they have been read to you. To waive your rights means to knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily speak freely to the interrogating officers without an attorney present. At any given moment, you are free to change your mind and wish to no longer answer questions.