The case of Miranda vs. Arizona can be described as a landmark case because after finding its way to US Supreme Court it altered the American jurisprudence (Soltero, 61–74). This case was responsible for what is known as the Miranda Rights which basically constitutes the right to remain silent. This case was a 1966 US case concerned with due process of law as found in the 4th Amendment of the US constitution. The decision of this court reversed an Arizona conviction of Ernesto Miranda on charges of kidnapping and raping. The ruling in this case by the high court revolutionized the procedure and mode of police in handling suspects for interrogation (Soltero, 61–74).
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Miranda was arrested at Arizona, at his home on 13th March 1963. While in custody, the police proceeded to question him without informing him of his rights. He was not informed that he had a right to have an attorney or to remain silent (Levy, 6-45). Upon being questioned, the police succeeded in obtaining a confession which the prosecutor relied upon during Miranda’s trial (Soltero, 61–74). This confession included a declaration that Earnest Miranda had signed the confession voluntary and without any promises of immunity or threats. Further, there was declaration that Miranda signed the confession with “full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statements I make may be used against me” (65).
Based on the confession, Miranda was convicted by the Arizona trial Court. Upon appeal to the Supreme Court it was held; quoting chief Justice Early Warren “the prosecution may not use statements whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” and that prior to questioning, a person must be given what is now known as Miranda warning (Levy, 6-45).
The Miranda warning include that a suspect has a right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions, that anything a person says may be used against him/her in a court of law, the right to consult an attorney before or during questioning, and in circumstances where a person accepts to be questioned in the absence of attorney can remain silent at any time, during the interrogation (Levy, 6-45).
The ruling, in this case, was significant in cementing the requirements found in the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination (Levy, 6-45). Thus the ruling of this case as reading together with a bill of rights ensures that fundamental liberties of an individual are upheld. Future acts of police officers interrogating a suspect that is not in accordance with the ruling in as far as the Fifth Amendment is concerned can be regarded as being unconstitutional (Levy, 6-45). The decision limited the scope of police operations while carrying interrogations. The rule has since remained constitutional that has stood tests of even the congress.
In conclusion, the Miranda rights have revolutionized the manner of handling suspects by police. These rights are critical to the due process of the Americans (Levy, 6-45). This is due to the fact that while the constitution and its Bill of Rights confer rights and freedoms of the Americans, the courts ruling via Miranda Rights defined the extent of those rights (Stuart, 15-34).
The Oyez Project, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966). Web.
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Soltero, Carlos R. (2006). “Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and the rights of the criminally accused”. Latinos and American Law: Landmark Supreme Court Cases. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. pp. 61–74.
Levy, Leonard W. (1986) . Origins of the Fifth Amendment (Reprint ed.). New York: Macmillan. Pp. 6-45.
Stuart, Gary L. (2004). Miranda: The Story of America’s Right to Remain Silent. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press. Pp. 15-34.