A Look at History: Miranda V. Arizona

A Look at History: Miranda V. Arizona

You've heard of the Miranda rights. Everybody has. It is a common police routine and is often referenced in various mediums. The Miranda rights is a direct result of the Miranda v. Arizona court case, which saw Ernesto Miranda’s arrest for the crime of rape and kidnapping in Arizona. This right is quite significant to suspects because they can make sure that the suspect is fairly treated.


Ernesto Miranda was on March 9, 1941. As a boy, Miranda began getting into trouble in grade school. Throughout the rest of his life, he would have several run ins with the law. For this particular case, his arrest took place on the 13th of March 1963. At that time, he was working as a laborer. The arrest took place because of the presence of circumstantial evidence which linked him to both the rape and kidnapping of a teenage girl, Lois Ann Jameson, days prior. Following a two-hour interrogation session by the police, Miranda confessed to the charges.


Prior to his confession, Miranda was not informed of his rights to counsel or his right to keep silent. During the trail, Alvin Moore, the court-appointed lawyer of Miranda objected to the offering of his client’s written confession as a form of evidence. He reasoned that because his client was not informed of his rights, the confession cannot be truly voluntary. The objection was eventually overruled and Miranda received a sentence of twenty to thirty years of imprisonment on both charges. The sentences were to run concurrently.

Miranda v. Arizona was decided in 1966.
image source: content.time.com

Alvin Moore filed his client’s appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. He claimed that the confession cannot be considered completely voluntary and was inappropriately admitted into court proceedings. Despite the effort, the decision of the trial court was affirmed by the Arizona Supreme Court. They emphasized that Miranda failed to request a lawyer specifically.


Former prosecutor and then Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the Court’s opinion. The Court ruled that because of the interrogation’s coercive nature, the confession could not be allowed under the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment unless the suspect was made aware of the rights and had waived them.

"The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him."

Because of that, Miranda’s conviction was overturned. The scenario of what happens when the suspect exercises his rights was also made clear:

"If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease ... If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning."

The dissenting justices, however, accused the majority of overreacting to the coercive interrogations problem.


Following the case, the Miranda Rights concept was enshrined in United States law. Miranda himself was retried and convicted, although he was later paroled in 1972 and died years later via stabbing incident on January 31, 1976. The suspect, a Mexican national by the name of Eseziquiel Moreno, fled prosecution.

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