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#TBT: Miranda v. Arizona

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Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Ernesto Miranda set a precedent after he was arrested on account of rape, kidnapping, and robbery in 1963. At the time of the arrest, Miranda was unaware of the rights that he is given as an American citizen. Once Miranda was brought in for police interrogation, the police continually asked questions about the alleged crimes for two hours. During the investigation, Miranda allegedly confessed to the crimes by signing a written statement and was sentenced to prison for twenty to thirty years.

Once Miranda was convicted for the crimes, Miranda appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court because the police unconstitutionally got a confession. However, the Court denied his attempts, forcing Miranda to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which Chief Justice Earl Warren reviewed his case.

Miranda pleaded that the recorded confession violated his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. According to the Fifth Amendment, any criminal suspect has the right to refuse to testify against themselves, which Miranda allegedly confessed to the crimes he was charged with during the interrogation. Most importantly, the Sixth Amendment grants any criminal suspect an attorney, which Miranda did not have. Not only did the court deal with Miranda’s case unconstitutionally, he was also unfortunate. Ernesto Miranda may have been a resident of Phoenix, but he only had an education at an eighth grade level. Miranda also had a history of mental instability, which could have possibly affected his competence during police investigation. 

The US Supreme Court resided with Miranda because the police used his vulnerability as an advantage to the case. It is important for the law to treat all suspects equally so that the government doesn’t abuse their powers and compel suspects into confessing to a crime he/she may or may not have committed. Situations in which intimidation occur or depriving suspects from their basic rights, very much affect the way suspects testify.

With the US Supreme Court in favor of Miranda on a vote of five to four, Miranda’s conviction was uplifted and a new trial was ordered. Unfortunately for Ernesto Miranda, he was again found guilty, which he then he was convicted of twenty to thirty years in prison again.

Miranda’s innocence to the crimes he was charged with has no significance, however, the fact that the police deprived him from his basic rights and an attorney is what made the US Supreme Court be in favor of Miranda. Because of Ernesto Miranda, it is the law for the police to read a suspect their “Miranda Rights” before holding them for interrogation. 

"Facts and Case Summary."USCOURTSGOV RSS. Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, n.d. Web. 18 June 2014. .


Joseph M. Ghabour
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