Understanding Arrest Rights
You have the right to remain silent! This is probably something you’ve heard in your favorite cop drama. However, it’s not exactly something you would want to hear yourself. The right to remain silent is a vital part of the Miranda Warning, the statement’s read during a person’s arrest.
Four statements make up the Miranda Warning:
- You have a right to remain silent
- If you say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law
- You have the right to an attorney
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you if you so desire
What Are Your Constitutional Rights?
One purpose of the Miranda Warning is to inform culprits or suspects of their rights. Even when someone commits a crime, they still have legal rights. According to the Constitution, everyone under criminal prosecution has the right to
- a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury
- know the nature and cause of the accusation
- confront the witnesses against them
- a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in their favor
- have the assistance of counsel for their defense.
Additionally, the Miranda Warning preserves the admissibility of statements given by the arrestee, including confessions. If someone does not receive Miranda Warning, their statements during interrogation get thrown out in court. When this happens, it can change the entire direction of a case. In this way, the Miranda Warning helps keep the entire justice system honest and fair, which benefits everyone.
The Background of the Miranda Right
The Miranda Warning dates back to 1966 and the Supreme Court case of Miranda vs Arizona. The plaintiff, Ernesto Miranda, was arrested for rape, robbery, and kidnapping. However, he was not read his rights. He signed a written confession, which included a statement that said he made the confession voluntarily, without threats or coercion. Miranda’s lawyer argued that his confession was not voluntary, because he did not know his rights. Therefore, he argued, the confession was not legal evidence against Miranda. In Miranda vs Arizona, the issue was never whether Miranda was guilty or not. In fact, Miranda was found guilty of the same crime the next year, thanks to other evidence. Instead, the case concerned what rights an arrested person has, and the impact those rights can have on the proceedings of a case.
In some instances, the preservation of an arrested person’s rights can seem unsettling. When someone commits a serious and disgusting crime like rape or murder, it’s hard to imagine that they still deserve fair treatment. But for the judicial system to remain fair and impartial, arrest rights need to exist.
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