Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436; 86 S. Ct. 1602; 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966)

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436; 86 S. Ct. 1602; 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966)

Facts—This decision consolidated four cases that came from Arizona, New York, California, and the federal courts. In each the law enforcement officials had taken the defendant into custody and had interrogated him for the purpose of obtaining a confession. At no time did the police effectively advise a defendant of his right to remain silent or of his right to consult with his attorney. In the lead case, police had arrested Ernesto Miranda at his home and then taken him to a Phoenix police station where two police officers questioned him. After two hours he made a written confession. He was subsequently convicted of kidnapping and rape. In the New York case the charge was first- degree robbery, in the California case it was robbery and first-degree murder, and in the federal case robbery of a savings and loan association and a bank in California.

Question—May police use and elicit statements they obtain from custodial interrogation without first informing suspects of their rights?


ReasonsC.J. Warren (5–4). An individual held for interrogation must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult counsel and to have his lawyer with him during interrogation. Financial inability of an accused person to furnish counsel is no excuse for the absence of counsel since in such an instance a lawyer must be appointed to represent the accused. If he answers some questions and gives some information on his own prior to invoking his right to remain silent this is not to warrant an assumption that the privilege has been waived.

The Court noted that “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. By custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.”

J. Clark, J. Harlan, and J. White authored dissents, questioning whether police were in fact engaging in the kind of “third degree” tactics with which the majority had charged them and arguing that the Court was imposing a utopian view of voluntary confessions that was likely to undermine law enforcement efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Law Faculty
error: Content is protected !!