Miranda vs Arizona


Basic Facts of the Case

The Supreme Court case of Miranda vs Arizona addressed a total of four cases in which defendants were questioned by police officers, detectives, or a prosecuting attorney in a room in which he was cut off from the outside world. In none of these cases were the defendants given a warning on what their rights were. In the case of Miranda vs Arizona, Miranda was arrested and taken into police custody, where after 2 hours of interrogation he had given a spoken and written confession. He was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. However he was never alerted to his rights.

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Constitutional Reference and Issue Before the Court

Whether statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation” are admissible against him in a criminal trial and whether “procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself” are necessary.

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Precedent Established by the Case

The Court held that procedural due process which is the right to be heard in a trial and have the law act in a fair way extends outside of criminal court proceedings. It also held that a person has the right to not speak so that they are protected from self-incrimination, which is the act of exposing oneself to the accusation of a crime. The court then stated that any statement gained from custodial interrogation that did not have procedural safeguards to protect against self-incrimination could not be used. The court lastly created what are now known as the Miranda Rights which state, a defendant must be warned prior to any questioning that he has 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.

Overall it was just that considering police interrogate people while they are in custody, those suspects must be aware of their rights.

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Historic Significance

The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Supreme Court of Arizona in Miranda, reversed the judgment of the New York Court of Appeals in Vignera, reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Westover, and affirmed the judgment of the Supreme Court of California in Stewart. This is a landmark case because It formalized the necessity to inform suspects of rights they have under the Constitution of the US. Prior to this, the burden was on the person to know they had the right to remain silent, right to counsel, etc.

Significance Today

The police are still required to inform all suspects that are taken into custody of their Miranda rights. If they do not, then the statements and information they gain are not admissible in court. An example of how this is still applicable today would be when a criminal is taken into custody they are given their Miranda Rights fairly quickly.

Future Significance

The precedent that the court set in this case is still in effect today. It does not seem that it will change anytime soon as it gives everyone the ability to understand the rights that the Constitution gives them. Suspects will continue to be read their rights as long as the judicial system is around.