When Miranda Rights Are Required

The right to remain silent

The Miranda Warning, commonly referred to as Miranda Rights, is something you are probably familiar with due to various movies and TV shows. Although the Supreme Court does not stipulate an exact wording of these rights, law enforcement agencies have determined a fundamental set of statements to be read to accused persons before they can be questioned.

These statements include:

–      You do not have to speak or answer any questions
–      What if you do speak what you say can be use in court
–      You can have a lawyer with you before questioning as well as after questioning
–      If you do not have the money for a lawyer, you will be assigned one

Miranda vs. Arizona

In 1963, Ernesto Miranda, who was suspected of the crime of kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old woman, was taken in for questioning. He later signed a confession to the crime. Miranda was not informed that he did not have to speak, or that an attorney could be present. Although, Miranda’s lawyer tried to get the confession thrown out of trial, the motion was denied.

The Miranda Rights were created in 1966 as a result of the Supreme Court’s Miranda vs. Arizona case. The warning was created so that a suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse questions could be protected. Miranda was not advised of his rights, and so all statements made to the police could not be treated as evidence. He was, however, convicted of kidnapping and rape based on the existing evidence.

Failure To Read Miranda Rights

If an individual in custody is questioned without being read his or her Miranda Rights, then any statement or confession made is considered involuntary and cannot be used against him or her in a criminal case. If evidence is discovered because of the statement or confession, then it will likely be disregarded and thrown out.

A Miranda Warning is not required, however, if the suspect is not in custody. In such situation, anything that he or she says can be used in trial if the individual is later charged with a crime later on.

Berguis vs. Thompkins

In 2010, the Supreme Court made a decision on the Berguis vs. Thompkins case, basically stating that Miranda Rights were dead. This decision meant that an individual must first state his or her rights to a police officer if he or she wanted to have them, such as “I would like an attorney” or “I have the right to not speak”.

Based on the Miranda vs. Arizona case, the court scrutinized the position of a suspect who understands the right to remain silent. Although the suspect is aware of this right to remain silent, he does not openly invoke or waive this right.

The court held that unless and until the suspect states explicitly that he or she was relying on that particular right, the police officer could continue to interview him or her. The court also determined that any of the succeeding voluntary statements made by the suspect could be used in court later on.

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