The Miranda right is a constitutional right for every citizen in America when arrested and put in custody. According to Einesman (2000), non-citizens can also exercise this constitutional right. The Miranda right come about after the ruling in the Supreme Court case of Miranda and Arizona held in 1966. The ruling held that before any custodial interrogation the enforcement officer should explain to the offender of his Miranda rights. Custodial interrogation comes about when the enforcement officer interrogates an arrested person in suspicion of committing a crime (Cooley, 2011). The officer should explain to the arrested person that he has the right of to remain silence. In addition, the suspect has the right to be represented by a lawyer during questioning and where the suspect cannot afford a lawyer one will be appointed free of charge by the state (Einesman, 2000).
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According to Blinka (2009), the state criminal courts used the voluntariness test in deciding whether a confession was admissible before the decision in Miranda. The approach of voluntariness existed on a case-to-case basis. It involved determination whether the person’s will in making the confession was broken. The approach proved to be vague and unpredictable because the courts were making mere conclusions instead of precise judgments. There was need for an alternative that was more manageable as well as significant in its application (Einesman, 2000). The plaintiff (Miranda) made a claim that the state of Arizona had violated his Fifth Amendment right that provided against self-incrimination. The plaintiff held that the enforcement officers had forcefully obtained a confession from him without prior explanation of his right. The right involved having his lawyer present during interrogation. The court made a ruling that a person’s statements stemming from custodial interrogation will be admissible when the law enforcers adhere to the Miranda rule.
Policies in Los Angeles
Los Angeles County has some policies that uphold the administration and application of the Miranda rights. Such policies exist within principles that govern administration of DUIs, principles that govern the Miranda rights of minors and the principles that govern waiver of the Miranda rights.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
One policy that facilitates upholding of the Miranda rights is the administration of DUIs. DUI is an acronym that stands for driving under the influence. It is the act of exceeding the legal limit of alcohol intoxication while driving a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a criminal offense in Los Angeles. The interrogating officer should explain the Miranda rights to the offender before any interrogation when a suspect is under arrest over driving under the influence of alcohol (Blinka, 2009). The violation of the Miranda right provides the offender with adequate grounds to beat the DUI. The result of violating the Miranda rights is the dismissal of evidence against the offender. The evidence becomes inadmissible before a court of law as it results to self-incrimination (Blinka, 2009). This is the suppressing of evidence in a court procedure. Suppressing evidence may serve as the determining factor between the case dismissal and the offender’s conviction. The constitution provides that suspects have a right against making self-incriminating statements under the Fifth Amendment. However, the Miranda rights only take effect after the offender is in custody. Information provided before the arrest becomes admissible evidence. The court presumes that the suspect gave such information voluntarily (Einesman ,2000).
Minors’ Miranda Rights
According to Cooley (2011), Los Angeles policy regarding the Miranda rights of minors provides that the minors have the same rights as adults. The minors have the same constitutional rights as any other citizen of the country. The minors should enjoy the right against self-incrimination provided in the Fifth Amendment. In addition, minors have a right of representation by a lawyer during custodial interrogation. Here the minors can exercise their Miranda rights. The enforcing officer should explain to the minor of his Miranda rights before the interrogation. The California Welfare and Institutions Code section 625 facilitates the administration of the Miranda rights. It provides that it is necessary to explain the Miranda rights to minors who violate a juvenile court order, escape a juvenile court order commitment, or are under the category of persons described in section 601 and 602 (Cooley, 2011). In addition, a probation officer explains the Miranda rights instead of the arresting officer. A probation officer provides the minor and the parent with the Miranda warnings when the enforcing officer takes the minor (offender) to a juvenile hall.
According to Cooley (2011), the United States constitution provides minors with certain remedies in case of violation of their Miranda rights. The courts may exclude the prosecution from using the self-incriminating statement in the case. The prosecution can use such statement only for impeachment. In addition, compensation in terms of state penalties are an available remedy.
Waiver of the Miranda rights
Miranda rights dictate that the arresting officer should inform the offender about his rights. However, in some situations the suspect may choose to waive his Miranda rights. The suspect can expressly or impliedly waivers his rights to be represented by a lawyer or the right to remain silent. The suspect expressly waivers his Miranda rights when he expresses through words or gestures that he waivers his Miranda rights. On the other hand, a suspect impliedly waivers his Miranda rights when the he acts in a way that suggests that he voluntarily gave up his rights. The position in the Los Angeles is that waiver can only take place after the suspect has been explained his Miranda rights. Where a waiver came about because of threats, tricks, or duress it is not voluntary and therefore inadmissible in court (Weisselberg, 2008)
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However, the suspect has the option of invoking his Miranda rights after foregoing them at an earlier point in time. In other words, the interrogation should end where the suspect at any stage of the interrogation expresses his wish to consult a lawyer or remain silent after waiving his rights (Einesman, 2000).
In conclusion, the discussed principles are adequate in ensuring the administration of the Miranda rights. However, they are not sufficient in ensuring correct administration of the rights. The courts when developing the Miranda rule assumed that the suspects had the capability of making reasoned and rational choices. The courts further presumed that any person under custodial interrogation was socially and intellectually competent to use and understand the Miranda warnings. The courts did not contemplate that the uneducated, non-English speakers, mentally disorders as well as the mentally disabled would require different sets of warnings that fit their level of understanding (Weisselberg, 2008). This approach of a one size fits all made by the courts are the loop holes that brings about the insufficiency in the Los Angeles policies in ensuring correct administration of the Miranda rights.
Blinka, J. (2009). Pretrial Motions in Criminal Prosecutions. The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 4 (2), 421-437.
Cooley, S. (2011). Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office: One Minute Brief. Web.
Einesman, F. (2000). Confessions and Culture: The Interaction of Miranda and Diversity. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology,1 (3) 34-68.
Weisselberg, D. (2008). Mourning Miranda. Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository, 1(1), 1521- 1600.