Miranda Rights Criminal Justice Courts Term Paper

Length: 15 pages Sources: 15 Subject: Business - Law Type: Term Paper Paper: #69433378 Related Topics: Miranda V Arizona, Prisoners Rights, Exclusionary Rule, Arizona Immigration Law
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Other examples in which the Court of the United States notes the Constitution had been violated because the defendant was not guaranteed aid of counsel or legal advisement include the case of Spano v. New York, 360 U.S. 314, No. 326. This again is a case in which the Petitioner was accused and the interrogation was set up to make the Petitioner admit his criminal actions so that incriminating evidence could be collected and used in the preliminary trials. Once again however, the law enforcement agents involved failed to provide the individual their fair rights as defined by the Miranda Rights and the right to an attorney to counsel the individual before interrogation takes place.

It is important to note also in many of these cases the Supreme Court notes many Petitioners are intimidated by the legal system and "forced" into confessing or admitting their crimes. While this may seem a fair way of gathering information and evidence it is not, especially if the Petitioner is ill-informed of their rights and taken advantage of. All of these cases show the United States Supreme Court working to protect the rights of the defendant as defined by the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Columbia Law Review (1961) affirms many cases overturned by the Supreme Court have to do with law enforcement's failure to adhere to due process requirements as defined by the Constitution. The due process requirements enable citizens the right to an attorney, to questioning in safe conditions under the advisement of an attorney and the right to know and understand what their rights are as stated by the Constitution. Many Petitioners incarcerated are not native English speakers; in these cases the law enforcement agents have a duty to provide the Petitioner with a discourse of their Miranda Rights and the right to a lawyer that speaks their native language so their understand what exactly is happening to them during interrogation (Columbia Law Review, 1961: 748).

It is interesting to note the number of non-native speakers questioned and interrogated, and later convicted yet released because the Supreme Court finds their rights to counsel are violated simply by the fact that law enforcement agents failed to provide the person in question with a translator or someone that could interpret the statements made by the law enforcement officials to protect their rights. The Constitution does not care whether the Petitioner is white or black or native or non-native speaking; as long as the individual captured for questioning is a citizen they are entitled to due process and their rights as dictated by the Constitution of the United States.

Frequently the judges overhearing cases note that those incarcerated without fully understanding their language or the rights of the law admit to crimes they did or did not commit, incriminating themselves solely because of fear or fear tactics engaged in by law enforcement agents. There are cases where the interrogators place into the mind of the person being interrogated the possibility that they have no choice but to admit to some crime if they want to see home again, as is exemplified or exampled by the case of Bram v. United States, 168 U.S. 532 No. 562. In this case the Petitioner had hoped to remove all suspicion but produced a conviction that derived from fear of silence; while the Petitioner had hoped to establish his rights using silence or failure to talk as dictated by the rights of the Miranda, the interrogators forced the individual fearfully into believing silence meant the person was automatically guilty, a common tactic used by law enforcement agents to engender a false confession, which some may view as better than no confession in cases of the law.

While many of the cases cited are earlier cases overturned by the Supreme Court, there are still instances today where minorities or others are convicted without due process. This happens predominately in areas of high crimes where law enforcement agents are more likely to convict someone without hesitating to believe they are guilty before it is proven true. Minority groups and those living under low socio-economic conditions are more likely to become victims in cases as this. It is also important to realize however that the Miranda Rights are not infallible. There are cases where the United States Supreme Court may overrule the right to due process in cases where it is clearly evident the person arrested is guilty and the lives of individuals or law enforcement are at risk (on the Issues, 2000).


Arizona in 1966. The courts recognized that police interrogators do indeed sometimes use "devious techniques" to "extract confessions" from suspects they may consider vulnerable, including those with limited knowledge of the law, minority groups or those with low socio-economic status (Einesman, 1999:1). Further, the fifth amendment privilege is sometimes ignored by law enforcement agents that use it to scare victims, as demonstrated by the last case, where the person arrested is told silence is often a marker of guilt and therefore, the person arrested is far better off providing a confession or information even without guidance from a lawyer (Einesman, 1999). These actions are just as in violation of the law as outright failure to deliver the Miranda rights to individuals that are arrested. Many law enforcement agents attempt to argue the person they take into custody "voluntarily waves their rights" in which case any statement may be used against them (Einesman, 1999). It is important however to recognize this statement says "voluntarily waves" the right, suggesting some ambiguity of the term voluntarily. Police or other law enforcement agents may use other tricks or deceptive techniques to get someone to wave their rights without their knowledge, and at that point it is the law enforcement agent's word against the word of the person arrested or taken into custody.

Opposing Views

Since the Miranda decision, where the lines of communication were opened and coercion of law enforcement agents limited, there has been much discourse related to the rights of those taken into custody, and the changing shape of law enforcement and criminal activity within the United States. Einesman (1999) notes many cultural changes occurred in the United States around the time the Miranda legislation was passed. Theses changes involved the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act which took effect in 1965. This act eliminated the original quotas established for immigration, allowing more non-native speakers to enter the country and seek nationality (Einesman, 1999). This may have opened the window of opportunity for law enforcement agents to rebel against the law and attempt to trick individuals into confessing crimes or making statements they are not prepared or educated enough to present. Many statements offered in absence of a lawyer result in self-incrimination, one reason the Miranda acts were enabled (Einesman, 1999). Many law enforcement agents however view these rights as a tool criminals can use to slip through the hands of law enforcement agents.

When used correctly many argue the Miranda Rights still hold much power among citizens living within the United States. This is not necessarily the case however for individuals entering the country illegally, as in the case of illegal immigrants (Einesman, 1999). Clymer (2002) questions whether the police now have cause to disregard the Miranda rights. The researcher blatantly proclaims that "Miranda and its progeny impose no such obligation on the police" and that police are free to do as they will with those they incarcerate (Clymer, 2002: 268). The author suggests Miranda is "best understood as a constitutional rule of admissibility" meaning the privilege prevents the "improper use of compelled statements" during interrogation or prosecutions, however, it does not prohibit the government from using force or compulsive tools to individuals they desire confessions from (Clymer, 2002: 268). It is true there are instances where the Supreme Court will not turn or waive decisions only because a person's Miranda Rights are violated.

Clymer (2002) suggests the courts often allow prosecutors to use trickery or compelling statements to try to get the individual prosecuted to admit to a crime. He suggests the courts may issue immunity orders and incarcerate witnesses whom the court or prosecution team feels are "contemptuous" or in contempt of court (Clymer, 2002: 268). Again however, these terms and words are ambiguous in nature and do not leave the reader with a proper understanding of how Miranda can protect those under custody.

There are other amendments that protect citizens, including the fourth amendment, which Clymer (2002) suggests is more sound than the Miranda warnings because it prohibits and restrains law enforcement agents from "unreasonable searches and seizures" without…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bram v. United States, (1946), 168 United States 532, No. 562.

Clymer, S.D. (2002), Are police free to disregard Miranda? Yale Law Journal, 113(3): 268.

Columbia Law Review, (1961 April), Post-indictment questioning in absence of counsel violates due process requirements, Columbia Law Review, 61(4): 744-48.

Corey v. United States, 375 U.S. 169, (1963), Available

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