Miranda Right

When people hear “Miranda rights” their minds often go to hearing them recited on their favorite cop or detective tv show. There is actually a very interesting case history behind why those rights are read out loud by the police. Without the Miranda rights, many people being detained by the police would not know that they have choices and rules to protect them during an interrogation.

Miranda vs. Arizona

In 1966 the United States Supreme Court ruled that Ernesto Miranda had been wrongfully convicted by being denied his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and his 6th Amendment right to an attorney. It was determined by the court that a suspect must be informed of their rights and voluntarily chose to waive them. This decision changed law enforcement in America from that day.

Being Mirandized

The Supreme Court Ruling stated requirements that a person had to be verbally informed of before their statements could be considered admissible in court. Different areas use different wordings. The words can even be in a different order, as long as the message is clearly conveyed.

Essentially the person had to be made aware that they had the right to have an attorney present even if they could not afford one, that they could chose not to speak and that if they did chose to speak anything they chose to say could be used against them in court. It became known as being Mirandized when an officer read those rights to a suspect. The rights are called the Miranda rules, the rights, or the warning.

Plot Twist

Ernesto Miranda was eventually retried and convicted without his confession being used against him. After he was released he made a side income signing the Miranda rule cards of police officers. In a twist of irony, the man who killed Ernesto was released on the charge due to lack of evidence. The man had chosen not to incriminate himself after being read the Miranda warning.

Ernesto Miranda probably had no idea that his name would become a part of American law enforcement rules when he first filed his appeal. Now, the rights are required to be read to ensure that a person has willingly given up their 5th and 6th Amendment right knowingly. That is why they are often ended with asking the suspect if they understand their rights. Without being given this warning a suspect cannot have their words used against them in court.


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