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Miranda V. Arizona

HOOK: Did you know the statement “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law “ originated in a court of law.


Docket 759

Date Argued: February 28-2, 1966

Date Decided: June 13, 1966

See Vignera v. New York, California v. Stewart, Westover v. United States

This case focuses on that of Ernesto Miranda-a man arrested in 1963 by police for an ongoing investigation concerning a kidnapping and rape. Miranda, after 2 hours of interrogation, would give a written confession used later as evidence by the prosecution in his trial. But despite the objections by the defense concerning the fact that Miranda’s rights weren’t read-- like advising Miranda to have a lawyer present during the interrogation--the jury still found Miranda guilty. The defense would appeal to the Supreme Court of Arizona, which was later shot down as the higher court decided Miranda’s constitutional rights were not violated in light of the fact he never specifically asked for counsel. Later in 1966, the case arrived at the United States Supreme Court.


Although Miranda v. Arizona focused on the case of Ernesto Miranda, there were actually 3 other cases listed above that played out in the same way. In which, interrogations without advisal of their rights and in three of them, signed statements were taken, so these other 3 cases were also addressed in the court case as they fell along the same basis as Miranda’s case. (see Vignera v. New York, California v. Stewart, Westover v. United States)


  • Does the Fifth Amendment and its evident protection against self-incrimination also encompass the suspect’s interrogation by the authorities?

OUTCOME - 5-4 in favor of Ernesto Miranda

  • Judicial Reasoning: The court decided that because the Fifth Amendment was in place, suspects could be advised by law enforcement officers of their right to remain silent and to gather legal counsel like a lawyer during interrogation in custody. If the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney together with their specific details and discrepancies were not advised by officers and consequently waived by the suspect, then all evidence procured through interrogation would be inadmissible in court, as it is considered unconstitutional. This ruling protects the burden of proof for defendants, making sure the custody and interrogation is done properly through the Fifth Amendment.


  • Majority of Supreme Court Judges:

  • Chief Justice Earl Warren alongside 4 Justices: Fortas, Douglas, Brennan, and Black

  • Ruled that evidence taken from a suspect not read their legal rights can’t be used by prosecutors in court

  • Miranda’s conviction would thereby be reversed as he was not read his rights before his interrogation and confession came about

  • The 5th amendment holds that a suspect can not incriminate himself, and not advising the suspect of their legal rights to remain silent and have legal aid violated this amendment

  • Additionally, this would help fight false confessions and the judges help outline that the warnings necessary by law enforcement to relay are the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present

-Dissent: While 4 other Judges believed:

-Justices: White, Clark, Harlan, Stewart

-Justice Tom C. Clark believed that the other 5 judge’s viewpoint was too strict and inhibited law enforcement in their approach to apprehending and charging suspects

-Clark does believe in the state having the burden of proof, but also believes the suspect should already be aware of the rights and any evidence without the advice should be able to be used in court

-Justice Harlan argued there were no other laws that supported this advisal of rights as necessary and that the 5th amendment was not made to alleviate all trouble from a suspect

-Justice White said the 5th amendment only tries to combat coercion and an interrogation does not inherently meet those requirements


  • This case is important because it concludes that every USA law enforcement party has to read the infamous “Miranda rights” to an individual before further processing and interrogation to balance their freedom and rights with police authority and action. Now, if an officer fails to read an individual their Miranda rights before proceeding with actions such as interrogation, any evidence gathered can’t be used in trial. Any confessions also will most likely be thrown out by the court. Many take them for granted today, but just know that when an officer states,

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you,”

the justice system is at work protecting your individual rights for a fair investigation.


-#fifthamendment, #Miranda, #5-4, #Rights Sources






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