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Application Of Miranda V. Arizona: When & Why The Police Must Advise You Of Your Rights

By Expert Author: Garth Harbuck

The situation when a Miranda warning is when you have been taken into custody & you are being subjected to a custodial interrogation. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that in custody means that the individual being detained doesn't have the right to terminate the police/citizen encounter and to leave whenever they choose to, even though they aren't yet under arrest for any crime. Miranda Warnings are standard before any questioning is done of a suspect about a crime. If a suspect implicates himself in response to any in custody questioning without having been advised of his Miranda Rights, the statement or comment is usually not admissible or usable in court. General questions concerning your address, birth date, and name can be asked without a Miranda Warning being given.

Miranda Warnings are now required to be a mandatory reading as they are now because of the court case of Miranda versus Arizona. The Supreme Court ruled on this case in 1966 in order to help protect the 5th Amendment rights of all individuals including suspects and to ensure self incrimination was not obtained by coercive interrogation methods. The precise language contained in the Miranda Warning were not established by the United States Supreme Court, but were given as a general guideline to follow. At a minimum, the Miranda Warnings must state that the rights of the suspect are; to remain silent, if he or she chooses to make a statement without a lawyer, what can be used in court by the prosecution, to have an attorney with them throughout questioning and at every critical stage of the criminal process, & that attorney can be appointed and paid for by the State if they can't afford a private attorney. Miranda warnings were not intended to be read or spoken in any order as long as the rights are given and understood. Most police officers, in practice, read the rights from a preprinted card so as to insure accuracy. Miranda must be given in a way that the suspect can understand & it is essential to ask the suspect if he or she understands the rights that were read to him or her. A silent suspect is not a waiver of the rights. However, if the suspect provides an unclear answer, it might present problems later in court.

Miranda v. Arizona was against a man whose name was Ernesto Miranda. Mr. Miranda was being accused of kidnapping and rape. While he was being questioned by the police, he confessed to both charges. Unfortunately, there was no lawyer present & he was not informed of his right to an attorney prior to giving his confession. There was no other evidence in the case tying Mr. Miranda to the crime and he was convicted based on his confession alone. Three years after his conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Miranda was being frightened by the detective investigating him and therefore gave the confession involuntarily. Ernesto Miranda was released from custody and was later retried and this time additional witnesses & evidence was used to convict him & Mr. Miranda went back to prison to serve an additional eleven years. On a weird twist of fate, the man that was to kill Mr. Miranda in prison was read Miranda rights and that individual asserted his right to.

The television police shows have given the public the impression that Miranda Warnings must be read in every case. The Miranda Warnings are so ingrained in our culture that the majority of Americans can recite the warnings from their memory. However, Miranda warnings are only necessary when law enforcement are going to interrogate a suspect and keep them detained at the local station or in the police car after detention. It is perfectly legal for a police officer to arrest an individual and not inform him or her of his or her rights if the officer does not intend to question the suspect. If interrogation becomes necessary after that arrest, then the suspect will be advised of his rights. It is important for citizens to know those rights & when they are to be given that way, their Fifth Amendment Rights will be protected.

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