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Miranda v. Arizona

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by

Matt Romer

on 19 April 2011

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Transcript of Miranda v. Arizona

Miranda v. Arizona During the 1960s, a movement which provided defendants with legal aid emerged from the collective efforts of various bar associations.

In the civil realm, it led to the creation of the Legal Services Corporation under the Great Society program of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Escobedo v. Illinois, a case which closely foreshadowed Miranda, provided for the presence of counsel during police interrogation. This concept extended to a concern over police interrogation practices, which were considered by many to be barbaric and unjust. Coercive interrogation tactics were known in period slang as the "third degree".

Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested based on circumstantial evidence linking him to the kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old woman 10 days earlier.[1] After two hours of interrogation by police officers, Miranda signed a confession to the rape charge on forms that included the typed statement "I do hereby swear that I make this statement voluntarily and of my own free will, with no threats, coercion, or promises of immunity, and with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me."[2] However, at no time was Miranda told of his right to counsel, and he was not advised of his right to remain silent or that his statements would be used against him during the interrogation before being presented with the form on which he was asked to write out the confession he had already given orally. At trial, when prosecutors offered Miranda's written confession as evidence, his court-appointed lawyer, Alvin Moore, objected that because of these facts, the confession was not truly voluntary and should be excluded. Moore's objection was overruled and based on this confession and other evidence, Miranda was convicted of rape and kidnapping and sentenced to 20 to 30 years imprisonment on each charge, with sentences to run concurrently. Moore filed Miranda's appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court claiming that Miranda's confession was not fully voluntary and should not have been admitted into the court proceedings. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's decision to admit the confession in State v. Miranda, 401 P.2d 721 (Ariz. 1965). In affirming, the Arizona Supreme Court emphasized heavily the fact that Miranda did not specifically request an attorney.[3]

The Miranda decision was widely criticized when it came down, as many felt it was unfair to inform suspected criminals of their rights, as outlined in the decision. President Richard Nixon and other conservatives denounced Miranda for undermining the efficiency of the police, and argued the ruling would contribute to an increase in crime. Nixon, upon becoming President, promised to appoint judges who would be "strict constructionists" and who would exercise judicial restraint. Many supporters of law enforcement were angered by the decision's negative view of police officers. The federal Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 purported to overrule Miranda for federal criminal cases and restore the "totality of the circumstances" test that had prevailed previous to Miranda. The validity of this provision of the law, which is still codified at 18 U.S. Code 3501, was not ruled on for another 30 years because the Justice Department never attempted to rely on it to support the introduction of a confession into evidence at any criminal trial. Miranda was undermined by several subsequent decisions which seemed to grant several exceptions to the "Miranda warnings," undermining its claim to be a necessary corollary of the Fifth Amendment.

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