As a result of the significant influence of the mass culture of film and television series, most people know the standard phrase that the police use when arresting a suspect. Many young people who are just learning about the law enforcement system in different countries, including the U.S., will learn about their rights from this phrase. The formulation is not a fiction of the writers but instead has a real justification, and these words are known as a rule of Miranda. The purpose of this research paper is to assess the importance of this rule and to discuss the case that gave rise to this rule.
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The legal meaning of the Miranda rule is that the police officer when arresting a suspect, must notify the detainee of his or her rights and then receive a clear answer to the question of whether he or she understands what he or she is saying. The standard wording of the Miranda rule may vary slightly in structure depending on the jurisdiction of the regions. The most common phrase that a detainee may hear from the keeper of order is: “you have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?” (Ryan, 2016). Further analysis of the importance of this wording leads to the following conclusions.
First, every U.S. citizen has a constitutional right to challenge the evidence against him/her during the proceedings. In other words, any information obtained from the arrested person cannot be used as evidence in court for the prosecution. This only works if the prosecution cannot prove that he or she had been formally informed of his or her constitutional right not to testify against himself or herself and the right to counsel before the information was reported.
Second, it is interesting to note that the Miranda rule is not a unique phenomenon for U.S. citizens. In many countries, there are similar requirements for the process of arresting a suspect. However, within the United States, as mentioned above, the structure of the rule may vary from state to state. For example, in the territories bordering Mexico, such as Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico, apart from the human right to contact the consulate of one’s own country is added to the text, if the latter is not a U.S. citizen.
Third, the Miranda rule is fundamental from the point of view of the detainee. In the last sentence, there is some reflection as to whether the detainee is in good standing. Since then, as a rule, it has become legally binding for the U.S., and the courts have ruled that a warning of rights must be meaningful. For this reason, the suspect is required to be asked if he or she understands his or her rights. A firm “yes” is usually needed.
Moreover, some jurisdictions require an officer to ask for an understanding not only at the end of the sentence but also after each sentence. There are cases when police officers detain a suspect under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and he or she is unable to answer law enforcement questions. It is noteworthy that since June 1, 2010, by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, silence and ambiguous phrases cannot be interpreted as a refusal.
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Due to the specifics of the American legal system, the Miranda rule, like most similar laws, is based on a specific judicial precedent. The sixties were marked by the struggle against police lawlessness in the United States: the arrested were not read their rights, and no lawyer was present during interrogations. Typically, police officers used the famous “bad cop” game to give evidence effectively.
With the improvement of civil law in the United States, it became clear that the system needed to be revised. The reason for rethinking the current system was 384U.S.436, dated 1966 (Ryan, 2016). According to the details of the investigation, Arizona resident Ernesto Miranda physically lured the girls into his van and subjected them to an act of sexual violence. He was detained at the police station during the identification process and immediately questioned. Miranda was not warned that he might not testify against himself and was entitled to a lawyer under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Ryan, 2016).
At trial, Ernesto said he proved under police pressure and was not aware of his rights at all, but the judge did convict. Subsequently, Miranda’s lawyer tries to acquit the offender, citing the right not to testify against himself. As a result, the case of 384U.S.436 is under review, but Ernesto is again deprived of his liberty. Nevertheless, the fact of Arizona v. Miranda becomes an important precedent. The court ordered law enforcement officers to read out to the detainees their rights.
Improvement of the science of justice has a vital role in a just and democratic society. Every U.S. citizen has not only the constitutional right not to testify against himself, but also the right to know about it during the arrest. The importance of Miranda’s rule is that it guarantees every arrested person voluntary testimony, without coercion. The wording of the law varies within U.S. jurisdictions depending on the specific state, but the central part remains general. The reason for such a measure was the case of 384U.S.436, in which Ernesto Miranda, who was accused in court, claimed that he was not aware of his rights in advance.
Ryan, M. J. (2016). Miranda’s Truth: The Importance of Adversarial Testing and Dignity in Confession Law. Northern Kentucky Law Review, 43(3), 413-434.