In March of 1963, Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested for the rape of and 18-year old woman. Upon interrogation by the police authorities, he admitted through a confession and the attempted rape of the woman. This confession was made without the presence of his counsel. During the trial, this extra-judicial confession without the aid of counsel was offered as part of the evidence, notwithstanding the positive identification of the rape victim. The two pieces of evidence were thereafter used for his conviction of rape and kidnapping.
Miranda then appealed the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court on the ground that the absence of counsel during the conduct of the extra-judicial confession violated the right of the accused to criminal due process, thus must be excluded from the body of evidence. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s conviction, on the ground that Miranda, during the extra-judicial confession, did not specifically request the presence of counsel. Thus, the appeal to the US Supreme Court.
The Court held that due to the coercive nature of custodial investigations, no confession may result without running afoul with the Fifth Amendment protecting the right against self-incrimination, and the Sixth Amendment where the right to counsel is ensured unless the accused has been informed of his rights and the accused has thus waived such rights. The Warren Court had thus stated its doctrinal ruling which holds true up until today, and better known as the Miranda Doctrine, to wit –
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 the court of law; 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. (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966)) 2. Do you agree with this decision? Discuss your opinions on this subject? The doctrinal ruling in Miranda v. Arizona remains one of the guideposts of individual civil liberties in the country today.
The state, in its exercise of its coercive powers in pursuit of public order, security and safety, must ensure that all the rights of the accused are respected to its fullest extent, because it has at its disposal the entire security apparatus to effect swift justice against persons suspected of violating the law, while the accused is by his lonesome in the protection of his right of liberty, even life. Without counsel, the accused has no other refuge. References: 1. Baker, Liva (1983). Miranda: Crime, law, and politics. New York: Atheneum. 2. US Supreme Court (1963). “Miranda v. Arizona. ” US Supreme Court Reporter. Vol. 384. p. 436.