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Miranda vs. Arizona Essay

The fifth amendment of the United States Constitution states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” (U.S Constitution) The Miranda versus Arizona is a quite interesting case and impacted our society. This case could have been easily avoided if our Law Enforcement did everything they are supposed to do. This case was totally blown out of proportion but in the police officers defense a lot of officers make this mistake.

This happened in three other cases; Vignera vs. New York, Westover vs. United States, and California vs. Stewart This all started because an officer did not tell him his rights. A kidnapping and rape happened in Phoenix, Arizona, in March 1966. Ernesto Miranda, who was 23, was arrested in his home to be taken to the police station where he was picked out by the young lady who got raped. Later that day he was interrogated by two officers for about two hours about the crime he had committed. Ernesto Miranda was not told of his rights prior to questioning. After those two hours the police officers came out with a written confession signed by Ernesto Miranda, saying that he had “full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me,” and he did not claim those rights.

Ernesto Miranda did not receive assistance of an attorney during questioning, or at the beginning of the hearing, and was not aware he had the right to discuss with an attorney during those parts of the criminal process.​It’s hard for me to believe that he did not know his rights especially two big ones like that because it said a lot in movies TV shows and kind of grow up knowing it. Ernesto Miranda statements were read in court over the objection of his attorney. He was later convicted on charges of kidnapping and rape, and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. Ernesto Miranda’s lawyer argued Miranda had been deprived of his constitutional rights, making the statements unusable. His lawyer thought that Ernesto Miranda convictions should be thrown out since he was not given his rights.

The state of Arizona argued that Ernesto Miranda had a very long police record and that he knew the procedures used to get his confession. They argued even more that he had demonstrated “intelligence in skillfully negotiating with police”, and had signed the confession easily. The hearing had been accurate under Arizona law, if the outcome was thrown out, it would set a example that would get in the way of future police investigations. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling, allowing Miranda’s conviction to stand. Ernesto Miranda’s attorney demanded the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, which was granted for the 1965-1966 Term.

​The Warren Court had previously ruled in an earlier case that when a police investigation is no longer a general investigation about an unsolved crime, but focuses on a particular suspect, a defendant cannot be denied his constitutional right to support of a counsel. In a very close 5-4 vote, the Court ruled to change Ernesto Miranda’s conviction on the basis that he had not been properly educated of his rights. This was a violation of the 14th amendment.

His trial was set up for a rehearing, his confessions that he had made when he was being interrogated were to not be used in the next trial. During his retrial, Ernesto Miranda was again convicted, but this time on the young lady who got raped statements and other evidence, and was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. The Court’s decision permanently changed law enforcement procedures. For example people taken into police custody must be given their rights before questioning. Each state is free to decide the exact wording of their “Miranda Warning.”


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