Miranda Rights The United States has come a long way since the Constitution was created, and it has learned from the mistakes done. There has been a lot of cases where people did not have a fair trial and people has been sentenced unfairly. After serious mistakes, many bills have developed so the incident does not happen again. Unfortunately, people have to go through the worse so other people can benefit. After the case of Miranda v. Arizona, many people have benefit from it.
Society as a whole has become better, and police officers now tell everyone their rights. We have come with the conclusion that everyone has the right to know their legal rights either by self-interest or because it is morally right. Miranda v. Arizona The main purpose of the United States Constitution was to limit the power of the government, and to protect the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The fifth amendment protects these rights.
On the constitution is written as: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation (The Constitution, 1791).
Before 1966, people who were arrested were not given a full and effective warning of their rights. Many would testify and sign statements to declare themselves guilty of the crime they were accused of. With the case of Miranda v. Arizona (1996), the law changed to aware the people about their rights at the time of their arrest. On March 13, 1963, Ernesto Miranda, was arrested at his house and taken in custody to a Phoenix police station. After being identified by a witness, he was taken to an interrogation room.
He was questioned by two police officers, in his trial, they confessed that Miranda was not aware of his right to have an attorney present. Hours after the interrogation the officers wrote the confession which was signed by Miranda without knowledge of what he signed. The most important detail of this confession was that at the top of the paper, it stated that the confession was made voluntarily, and he knew of his legal rights. Once in the Trial, the confession was accepted. Miranda was declared guilty of kidnapping and rape; he could be sentenced from 20 to 30-years’ in prison.
On the appeal, Miranda was still declared guilty. The court believed that his rights were not violated and that he never requested a counsellor for his case (R. N. Boyce, D. A. Dripps, and R. M. Perkins, 2010). From the testimony of the officers it was clear that Miranda was not aware of his rights when he signed the confession that was written for him. Due to his ignorance about the law, he could have faced up to 30 years in prison. The conflict of Miranda’s case was that if the officer retained information about Miranda rights or if Miranda was aware of his rights.
Another controversy of this case was that the Supreme Court send a warning to all the officers that they must inform the people about their rights while getting arrested and before the questioning takes place. The officers must tell individuals that they have the right to remain silent, that any statements they make may be used against them, and that they have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If in any circumstances the individual is unable to pay for an attorney, they will be assigned an attorney at no cost (Cassell, P. , and Stith, K. , n. d. ).
People v. Stewart The court recognized that many errors had occurred since officers did not said to the people about their civil rights, and many people were not aware of their rights. Miranda v. Arizona was not the first case where the officers did not let the defendant know about their counsel rights. For example, on December 19, 1963, Miss Lucile O. Mitchell was beaten and robbed; she was found on her porch dead. Prior to this case (People v. Stewart), the local officers have been investigating a series of robberies that were occurring in the area, the officers suspected that there could be a connection with all the robberies.
One of the previous victims was carrying checks with her and those checks were cashed. The officers interviewed the owner of the market where the checks were cashed, the owner told them about Mr. Stewart. Without any proved that Mr. Stewart was the one committing the robberies, he was interrogated for a couple of days without telling him about his rights to a counsel. In one of the interrogations the defendant confessed that he was the one who robbed Miss Mitchell but did not intend to kill her. His confession was used as evidence against him, even though the defendant stated that he gave his statement involuntary.
Nothing in the records stated if the defendant was informed prior to his confession of his counsel rights and to remain silent. On the appeal, the argument was that the officers had not effectively informed the defendant of his counsel rights or of his absolute right to remain silent. There was no evidence established that he was waived these rights. The Supreme Court of California reversed the conviction (Scocal, 2009). Brewer v. Williams Another case that discusses similar issues was the case of Brewer v. Williams (1977). In this case, however, the defendant had knowledge of his rights and requested them at the time of his arrest.
In Brewer v. Williams, the defendant was taken into custody for abducting a ten-year-old girl in Des Moines, Iowa. The defendant was arrested in Davenport. The defendant had two attorneys one in Des Moines and one in Davenport; both advised the defendant to remain silent on his transfer to Des Moines. The attorney was denied his request to ride with the defendant, but they got an agreement from the court that the defendant was not going to be questioned during his transfer. The officers riding with the defendant knew that the defendant was a former mental patient and religious.
The officers engaged with the defendant several conversations talking about religion and how the girl and her family deserved a Christian burial. The officers told the defendant that he knew the body was between Des Moines and Davenport. The officers wanted to play with his emotions, so he would confess where the body was. Finally, the officers were able to get the defendant to confess and led them to the girl’s body. At the trial, the body of the victim along with his confession during the transfer to Des Moines was attended to be used as evidence against him.
The court denied the evidence, because his attorney was not present during the time of the confession, which violated his rights (Fifth Amendment, 1977). Fifth Amendment Both cases, Brewer v. Williams, and People v. Stewart, were examples of the Miranda Rights where informs both the public and the officers the importance of the fifth amendment. The knowledge of these rights can either favor the defendant or go against him. The government has come a long way to protect the rights of its citizens and their rights.
The court was able to let the public know that: “There can be no doubt that the Fifth Amendment privilege is available outside of the criminal court proceedings and serves to protect persons in all settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way from being compelled to incriminate themselves. 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 selfincrimination. ” (U. S. Courts, n. d. Do to the great controversy Miranda’s case had, it brought the government’s system to a higher level of security for the public. Now the government provides security to individuals at the time of their arrest, by providing them with information about their rights before the officers started to interrogate them.
The defendant has “the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he desires,” (Cassell, P. , and Stith, K. n. d. ). It is important for all the citizens to be aware of their rights when dealing with officers and not answer any questions without an attorney present. The present of an officer can be intimidating to any individual, they might feel the need to answer any questions. The Officer may frame any conversation to find the defendant guilty. All citizens need to know that they have the right to remain silent until an attorney is present and only answer questions in front of their attorney. If they are not able to pay an attorney, they will be assigned a public attorney by the court at no cost to them.