Miranda rights

From BoyWiki

The Miranda warning, also referred to as the "Miranda rights", is a warning required by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sets social policy to a much larger degree than courts in any other country. The warning informs those arrested that they have the right to an attorney, and that one will be appointed for them if they cannot afford one, a right guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It also informs those arrested of their most basic right, the right to remain silent, found in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The warning does not have any federally mandated form or text, The Supreme Court stated, in Miranda v. Arizona (1986), that

"The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he/she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he/she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he/she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him/her."

The warning must be given by the police or other arresting agency to persons who are in custody (arrested). Use of these rights cannot be invoked in court as evidence of a suspect's guilt. If the police do not inform the arrested suspect of his/her rights, nothing the person says can be used as evidence against him, although it can lead the police to other evidence which can be so used.

The Miranda warning is well-known because it is found in many motion pictures. It is brief and dramatic, and reassures viewers that their government is benign, save for police overreaching which the warning seems to check. In practice the warning, while certainly beneficial, means much less than it seems to.

  • It provides no protection for anyone not arrested, or prior to an arrest. No one is ever required to talk to the police, except in some states to give identifying information. However, the police have no requirement to inform you of this right. Most people, unfortunately, are not aware of their rights. Refusing to talk to police prior to arrest is not illegal, but prosecutors can cite it in court as indicating the person has something to hide and did not cooperate.
  • Government funding for attorneys for the indigent or near-indigent is often inadequate, sometimes ludicrously inadequate. The pay given to participating attorneys is sometimes so low that only incompetent attorneys, with no other source of clients, will accept it.
  • In some jurisdictions attorneys are assigned cases with no pay at all, as a public duty the state requires of them. This duty is assigned at random, so the accused may be assigned an attorney whose specialty is real estate or taxes, who has never represented a criminal client and knows very little about cruminal law. Criminal law is a highly complex and constantly changing area of the law, requiring expertise. Attorneys sometimes will do as little as possible to comply with this mandate.
  • In those jurisdictions (mostly Democratic) in which compensation is marginally adequate and have a Public Defenders office, there is no funding for investigators, expert witnesses, or other types of preparation for a trial. The attorneys usually assist defendents with basic rights and procedure, and can negotiate on the client's behalf with prosecutors and judges. Prosecutors and judges rarely will negotiate directly with a suspect. Even when there are attorneys with adequate compensation, there are frequently not enough of them, so case loads can be very high, meaning the time available to assist each client may be as low as ten minutes. These attorneys see as their primary role the negotiation of a "plea bargain", by far the most common outcome of criminal charges in the U.S. (In a plea bargain, the defendant pleads guilty in exchanged for a specific sentence.) They are unable to help innocent people to establish their innocence through a trial: impossibly time-consuming, given their case loads. (There are not enough courts either; if everyone rejected plea bargaining the court system would collapse.)
  • There are many cases subsequent to conviction, in which the accused alleges that the conviction is invalid because their representation (work of an attorney) was inadequate.
  • The protection applies only to felony charges (those which could lead to incarceration of at least one year).
  • The person must clearly state that they are invoking this right.
  • If the person answers even one question, the right has been waived, according to the Supreme Court. One cannot start answering questions and then stop, invoking this right.
  • The police, who are allowed to lie and frequently do (and are taught to do so), will subtly pressure the suspect to waive his rights and cooperate. While directly illegal statements are not allowed ("it'll be easier for you if you give a statement"), there are many subtle ways police can pressure the suspect into talking. Sometimes the suspect wants to talk and believes this will help him get out of trouble. This can be a devastating mistake. Do not say anything to the police, not even "I'm not guilty" or "I didn't do it". Only talk to the police if your attorney advises you to do so, which seldom happens.

In practice few people use their Miranda rights. They are most often invoked by criminals who have been through the legal system before, and know their rights.


See also

BoyLover mistakes leading to arrest and conviction‎‎

External links

  • Continue reading at Wikipedia about your Miranda rights at: