Serious criticism of the Miranda decision

Various other scholars have expressed contrasting opinions regarding the impact of the Miranda decision and the use of the Miranda warnings and Miranda rights by different categories of criminals or accused persons. Here we will try to find the views of these scholars regarding the Miranda decision and use of Miranda warnings. Akhil Reed Amar (Gee, 2001) has suggested a few changes in the method of interrogation with a view to protect both the police and the accused. These changes are suggested based on the outcome of the Miranda decisions.

Amar suggested that interrogations of accused should be conducted in the presence of the Magistrate instead of in the police station which would serve the dual purpose of protecting the accused from the police abuse and securing the power of the police to question the accused. According to Amar, Miranda case has failed to provide motivation to the criminals to tell the truth to the police when they are questioned regarding crimes committed by them. This can be considered as a serious criticism of the Miranda decision.

It is argued that when interrogations are conducted outside the police station, there is no compulsion for the police to use their violent techniques to compel the accused to speak the truth. Moreover, in a more civilized environment, the criminals also would volunteer to respond to the questions of the police. In spite of criticism against Miranda rights, yet they remain in force even today and the Congress is not able to completely supercede the aspects of Miranda rights.

The people are able to protect their civil rights based on the provisions of these rights. (Gee, 2001) Klarman (2004) made a study of the nature of the civil rights and civil liberties in United States of America. This essay discussed various cases including the Miranda decision. Klarman discussed the process of emergence of the civil rights and liberties, which became popular in United States. Differentiation is made between negative liberty and positive liberty.

Among these, negative liberty refers to freedom from the interference in the life of individuals. Positive liberty indicates the awareness regarding the various rights possessed by the people in the American society. However, the civil rights usually obtain more power when there is effective government intervention with the intention of achieving the welfare of the individuals in the society. Courts are expected to protect the civil rights and liberties of the individuals.

However, the courts protect these civil rights and liberties under the various circumstances. Thus, both judiciary and legislature try to provide protection of these rights. However, Klarman suggests that not always it is possible for the court to go against the will of the majority. For instance, when there was suppression of the civil rights of the black people, it was not possible for the courts to defend these civil rights of these people. In fact, the courts on few occasions defended these institutions maintained by the majority population.

The author substantiates this statement by mentioning that in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, the judiciary did not properly condemn the racial segregation. Racial segregation was tolerated by the constitution and the judiciary substantiated this stand of the government by tolerating racial segregation. It is suggested that the minority groups and the weaker sections were not given the legal protection. In order to obtain judicial protection, these groups need to show their solidarity and power.

For instance, before the women’s liberation movement, the judiciary did not accept the equality between men and women. This is also due to the fact that judges lack institutional power to give protection to the minority groups. For instance in the Giles v. Harris case, the judges could not condemn the suppression of the rights of the black population. Even when the judges announced their judgement, there is no guarantee that the authorities will implement these provisions of judgement.

Implementation of the judicial decisions depends on the strength of the political and social communities. This argument suggests that the judiciary lacked independence in taking decisions and hence there is impact of political and social atmosphere on the judicial decisions. Klarman argues that many important decisions such as the Miranda decisions were taken by the judiciary to protect the rights of the criminals. However, this became counterproductive as the protest against this decision undermined these rights as highlighted in the Miranda v. Arizona case.

When we apply this theory in the case of Miranda warnings, we find that although judges wished to protect the interest of the accused people by insisting on specific rules pertaining to involuntary confession, many sections of population, particularly political groups opposed this attempt and passed legislations to nullify this decisions. This indicates that since the criminals or convicted people were minority, although the judiciary wanted to protect their interest, it did not possess institutional authority to do so. (Klarman)