Miranda Rights- Why are they Important?
America is a great place with all its laws to protect people and anyone that wants to come into the country. Some people believe that the laws can be misleading, harsh, or don't work at all. Police have a lot of jurisdiction with arresting and then interrogating criminals. They must go through certain protocols to get the criminal to jail for good. Sometimes the police violate certain rights and that's when things turn from bad to worse. The Miranda Rights are perfect as written because they protect the suspect, it has already been tested in previous cases, and it serves as a check-and-balance for the police officers involved.
Where did the Miranda Rights come from and why do we have them? It all started back in 1963 with a man by the name of Ernesto Miranda. The police arrested Ernesto for stealing $8 from a bank worker. Ernesto was also charged with armed robbery. When the police had Ernesto in custody, he wrote a confession stating that he did commit the robbery. He also admitted to the kidnapping and raping of an 18-year-old eleven days after the robbery. After his conviction, his lawyers appealed his case saying that Ernesto Miranda did not know his right to self- incrimination. Before this conviction, he already had armed robbery and a juvenile record. In 1966, Miranda's case (Miranda V. Arizona) made it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overthrew Miranda's conviction because the accused (Ernesto Miranda) had the right to remain silent and that none of the prosecutors could use his statements in court unless the police had informed him of his rights. This was a great case with the vote being 5-4. Ernesto's case was retried later. He was convicted with other evidence and ended up serving 11 years. The parole board let Ernesto out on parole in 1972. Unfortunately, his life came to a halt in 1976 when someone stabbed him in a bar fight. The man that stabbed Ernesto ended up exercising his right to remain silent at his trial. He was later released. The police had not suspected or even convicted anyone else. Ernesto was 34 at the time of his death.
Many people will say that they know their rights for the fact they have heard the rights on television. These are the rights that supposedly are read to the suspect: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at the government's expense" You can get these rights on a card; all you have to do is go on the internet and order one. Most cops have the Miranda Warning card, which helps them tell the suspect their right to self-incrimination and to have an attorney present while they are questioned. This card also helps the police officer not to leave anything out. According to Abanet.org, "The Miranda rule was developed to protect the individual's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination" (www.abanet.org).This case was not the first of its kind; as a matter of fact, there was one case that helped with the Supreme Court's ruling. The case was California V. Stewart. This case was about how the police held the defendant for 5 days straight in their station and on nine different occasions, interrogated him before they received his statement.
According to Chief Justice Earl Warren, "The accused who does not know his rights and therefore does not make a request may be the person who most needs counsel"( Warren, Earl milestonedocuments.com. There are pros to the Miranda Rights for both the defendant and for the police officers involved. One of the pros to this right is for the defendant. If the police do not read the defendant their rights at the time of arrest, any evidence that the police receive could be thrown out of court. A big defense for the defendant is that they can be made aware that they do not have to admit to anything without having a lawyer present. If the defendant is a minor, he/she has to have a parent or an attorney with them during any kind of interrogation. The only pro for the police is that if they read the rights to the suspect they have a great chance of keeping the criminal off the streets. This serves as a check-and-balance system for any and all police officers involved in the case. The police do not have to Mirandanize you until you are arrested. There isn't a law out there that states a police officer has to read your rights as soon as he approaches you. The police also do not have to tell you the crime you have committed. Now if the police do not read your rights until after you have confessed most times your confession will be thrown out, unless the defendant confesses to a crime before the police read him his rights, that confession can be used in court. The police do not have to read you your rights as long as you are a witness and not the criminal. Parents need to give their kids a card that they can carry around that they can give the police when and if they are under arrest. They will not read you your rights if they do not intend to interrogate you.
Miranda V. Arizona was a notable case, because of the 5-4 vote. There was one case that helped the Supreme Court with their ruling. The reason we have the Miranda Ruling now is because of Ernesto Miranda. The defendant (Ernesto Miranda) had stolen $8, raped, and kidnapped an 18 year old. He admitted to the police that he committed these crimes even though he was unaware of his right to self-incrimination. Miranda ended up serving 11 years in jail and was later paroled. When he was let out, someone killed him in a bar fight, but to this day they have not convicted anyone on his murder. The Miranda Rights serve as a check-and-balance system for any and all police officers involved in the case. If the police do not read the defendant their rights, then anything they confess to can be thrown out of court. If the rights are not read to the defendant, the defendant has a chance to be set free. Almost every cop has a Miranda Warning card that helps him or her with explaining the defendant's rights. There has to be either a parent present or an attorney present when police go to interrogate minors. Police do not have to read you your rights until you are arrested. They can get away with not reading your rights if you are a witness or if you just admit to everything. The Miranda Rights are a good piece of information that police and defendants need to help make a court case run smoothly. Before you go and tell everything to the police, stop for a minute and remember your Miranda Rights.