Miranda v. Arizona Rachel White

Case Number: 384 US 436 (1966)

Petitioner: Miranda

Respondent: Arizona

Ernesto Miranda was arrested in his home in Phoenix, Arizona on March 13, 1963 and taken in by the police who interrogated him about his connection to a kidnapping and rape. After interrogating him for two hours, the police acquired a written confession from Miranda. The confession was shown as evidence at trial, and even though the policemen who had questioned Miranda admitted to not advising him to have an attorney present during the interrogation, the jury found him guilty.

Relief Sought: Miranda wanted his confession to be discounted because he did not know his rights.

Because Miranda was never told his rights - including the right to remain silent, his right to have a lawyer, and the fact that everything he stated during his interrogation could be used against him in court - he objected to his verdict. He claimed that had he known his rights, he would not have given his confession so voluntarily. The objection was overruled and Miranda was found guilty of the kidnapping and rape and therefore was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison for both charges.

An appeal based on the confession's allegedly involuntary nature was rejected by the Arizona Supreme Court. The Arizona Supreme Court stated that Miranda's fifth amendment had not been violated because it protects against self-incrimination in all settings. While Miranda was still found guilty for his crimes, the Supreme Court still ordered that statements from an interrogation could not be used unless the suspect was aware of his rights before giving any confessions.


Date Decision Delivered: Jun 13, 1966

Decision Explained:

While Miranda was still found guilty of his crime, the Supreme Court voted for him in his argument about not knowing his rights. The United States Supreme Court determined that the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination should be available in all settings. Therefore, prosecution is not able to use statements arising from a custodial interrogation of a suspect unless certain procedural safeguards were in place.

Ernesto Miranda's Mugshot at Arizona State Prison

Concurrent Opinion

Author: Tom C. Clark

Tom Clark was very uncertain about the ruling of the majority. He made his point by using the case Haynes v. Washington as an example. This would allow the court to make a decision by seeing that Miranda rights were not violated and that his confession was given voluntarily.

Haynes v. Washington Insight

Before Miranda, Raymond L. Haynes was arrested on the evening of December 19, 1957, by the police near a recently-robbed gas station. Haynes admitted to the robbing on the drive to the police station where he signed a written confession after he was told that he could not call his wife until it was signed. At trial, Haynes argued that the confession was invalid he was coerced into giving it. The judge admitted the confession into evidence, and the jury found Haynes guilty. Haynes appealed, and the Washington Supreme Court approved of the conviction.

Dissenting Opinion

Author: John Marshall Harlan II

Harlan felt that the majority opinion lacked support in the text of the law and argued that creating beliefs through speculation reduced the legitimacy of constitutional law overall.

Author: Byron Raymond White

Just like Harlan, White observed that the majority did not have any textual foundation in the Constitution for its opinion and also lacked any Court precedents. After researching English common law, he confirmed it had no support for the Supreme Court.

This case highlighted both the 5th and 6th Amendments - the 5th because it gives a person the right to not testify against himself, such as giving his confession unwillingly and unknowing of his rights and the 6th because it allows a person the right to a fair jury and an attorney should they want one.

It is because of this case that we have our Miranda Rights and that officers - as they arrest a suspect - must tell them their rights. any evidence acquired by an officer is considered void if they do not tell the criminal their rights.

Miranda Rights:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."


Created with images by karen_neoh - "Courtroom" • steakpinball - "My Trusty Gavel" • meeshypants - "barring freedom" • ahisgett - "Police Car Amarillo"

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