#OnThisDay: Miranda v Arizona, 1966

It was just a month ago that I blogged about the 1954 US Supreme Court landmark decision, Brown v Board of Education of Topeka. I referred to the fact that our legal framework is under attack by the current sitting US Supreme Court. I fear the overturning of Roe v Wade will be just the tip of the iceberg. Time will tell.

Americans now know that we cannot take any of our freedoms for granted. The Trump-inspired insurrectionists’ attack on the US Capitol on June 6, 2021 surely taught most of us that, if nothing else.

“Miranda Rights”

One of the assurances we have in the United States stems from a landmark decision issued by the US Supreme Court on this date in 1966: Miranda v Arizona. I’m sure you’ve heard of “Miranda Rights” if you watch any police procedural television series set in the United States.  

Photo credit: Logan Weaver on unsplash.com

Since the Miranda v Arizona decision, “you have the right to remain silent…” when being arrested. I’ve never been arrested, and I hope I never will be. You never know, though, when something like that might happen. Many people are falsely accused and arrested due to that or by cases of mistaken identity or are falsely singled out due to the color of their skin or for having the same name as someone for whom there is an arrest warrant. That last one can happen to anyone.

If you’re ever arrested in the United States of America – rightly or wrongly – you’ll be glad that on June 13, 1966, the US Supreme Court proclaimed that you must be informed of your rights by the arresting police officer. You have the right to remain silent. If you relinquish that right, anything you say can be held against you in a court of law. You have a right to legal counsel – either a lawyer you hire or one appointed for you by the court if you cannot afford to hire one yourself.

Miranda v Arizona was decided by a 6 to 3 majority of the US Supreme Court. The majority ruled based on the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution. Dissenting justices argued that the law wasn’t necessary and that police officers inclined to conduct questionable interrogations would just ignore the decision.

I think most Americans know enough about the law now that they are aware that they “have the right to remain silent” and that they “have a right to legal counsel.” An informed citizenry will help keep police officers with questionable motives and tactics in check. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. My black friends can attest to that.

The original Miranda Case

In a nutshell, Ernesto Miranda was convicted after confessing under police interrogation that he was guilty of kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery. The conviction was overturned by the Miranda v Arizona US Supreme Court decision. Mr. Miranda was tried again, convicted, and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.

Seeing Miranda v Arizona in action

I served on a jury in my county’s Superior Court in the 1970s. The case before us was a child neglect matter due to a mother keeping her children out of school based on a religious belief that the world was going to come to an end on a specific date in the near future.

The mother’s reasoning was that her children didn’t need an education, since the world was going to end in a few months. It appeared to be an open-and-shut case until the woman’s attorney informed the judge that his client hadn’t been read her Miranda Rights. The case was immediately dismissed.

Since my last blog post

I had the privilege of watching and listening to four free webinars offered by Chad R. Allen. He offered lots of useful information about book publishing and, specifically, how to write a successful book proposal.

I also watched and listened to a free webinar by Geoff Affleck about how to advertise on Amazon.

Until my next blog post

Keep reading! I hope you have a good book to read this week.

Make time to enjoy a hobby.

Remember the people of Ukraine and Uvalde, Texas.


11 thoughts on “#OnThisDay: Miranda v Arizona, 1966

  1. Very good and interesting fact filled article Janet. The Miranda decision is something that no one can live without and in most other countries they have similar versions of the same. As a retired police officer I always valued this rule of being allowed to proffer this bit of legal advice to the detained person in order to assure that the case would go on unhindered by technicalities. And for the general public…all of us…it is a most valued safeguard of our freedom. The webinars that you listened to sound very interesting indeed and I am sure you got some very good and useful information on how to proceed with your book. I hope you are still researching and writing. The research part is always…to me…very interesting, it is sort of like being on a journey of discovery and even though you set out to look for something you always end up finding much more. Best of luck and keep writing! I have been travelling through Florida and was quite happy to leave Miami even for a little while, however happier still because I will be returning to Europe very, very soon! All the best!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing your perspective on Miranda as a former police officer. It is a safeguard we take for granted. Images of people in places like Russia being grabbed by police officers and hauled away come to mind as an example of what can happen when there are no such laws or respect for the rule of law. The webinars I listened to were interesting and very helpful. I’ve been spending some spare time working on genealogy instead of writing. My varied interests continue to pull me in too many directions. I’m watching the House January 6 Select Committee Hearing as I write this, but maybe this afternoon I’ll settled down to working on my novel. It’s definitely too hot to be tempted to go outside! What a hot week we’re facing! Glad I’m not in Florida. I’m sure you’re counting the days until you return to your beloved Spain. Can’t blame you for feeling that way. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yes, I am counting the days Janet. Although I once lived here in Miami, I was on the job and it was different. After I returned to Spain I immediately adapted to life there and now, after more than 3 years, coming back, nothing was the same and being retired, life is totally different here. You need a motor car for everything, there is no sense of neighbourhood, no pubs, bars or (cheap) restaurants, everything is extremely expensive, a bag of crisps costs more than $4 and well, l could go on and on, but I will leave it there, I am sure you can figure out the rest of the differences. And yes, it is quite hot here in these days! But that’s the same in Spain in the summers, so not much difference there…
    Take good care and all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I think I know some of the other reasons you look forward to leaving the U.S. If a certain person gets elected President in 2024, I’ll want to leave, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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