The court that ruled on the case: Warren Court (1965-1967)
Argued: Feb. 28, March 1, and 2, 1966
Decided: June 13, 1966
The case Miranda v. Arizona is one of the legendary criminal litigation proceedings that have had great attention in the United States’ history. In fact, the challenge involved custodial interrogation, which was pursued by the Warren Court and decided on 13 June 1966 (Holland, 2016). Ernesto Miranda was the defendant in the legal suit and was accused of kidnapping and raping the complainant. In essence, the proceedings’ background indicated that in March 1963, a kidnap and a sexual assault occurred in Phoenix, Arizona. At the time of the offense, Miranda was twenty-three years old. When the police got the information, he was the only suspect and was arrested from his home and taken to the police station. Consequently, the complainant identified Miranda as the criminal, which necessitated his remand for further interrogations.
Background of the Case
The questioning occurred at the police station, but Miranda was tricked into signing a written confession without being given the right to consult counsel by the probing officers. However, the statement alleged that the accused had prior knowledge of his rights as a suspect (Holland, 2016). Secondly, the confession read that he agreed to have the information used against him for the trial proceedings. As a result, the report was used in his examination after two weeks. However, Miranda wanted to have a lawyer, but the written assent would be used against him as he had earlier signed the admission (Holland, 2016). Therefore, the jury ruled that the accused was guilty of kidnapping and raping the complainant by declaring guilt as objective. Thus, Ernesto Miranda was sentenced to serve a 20-year jail term.
The Miranda versus Arizona litigation raised various constitutional concerns. For example, the case raised the issues of the right to counsel for an accused and the use of self-incriminating confessions for judicial proceedings. As such, the discussion regarding whether such a forced declaration was used constitutionally as supportive evidence against the accused. Besides, the proceeding raised the question of the right to interrogate the suspect without the representation of a court lawyer. In fact, the use of the testimony has been widely considered as a disregard for the rights of the accused as provided for in the fifth and sixth amendments (Gross, 2013; Bentz, 2012). Moreover, the litigation pointed out a weakness in determining whether any right, as provided in the Constitution, was denied in the process of obtaining the evidence used in the criminal proceeding. Under those premises, the judge had difficulty determining whether the confessions were voluntary or whether Miranda was coerced into consenting to the charges.
The case was also evaluated based on the standards of fairness fundamentals. Notably, the justice principles and standards advocate that all the accused persons be accorded the constitutional privileges and provisions as outlined. The complications in hearing and passing judgment against the accused without proper observance of the doctrine have had several references besides the Miranda versus Arizona case. For instance, the legal suit between Mapp and Ohio in 1961, the Gideon versus Wainwright lawsuit of 1963, and the case between Escobedo and Illinois in 1964 are critical points of reference. Thus, the analysis of Miranda versus Arizona revealed a gross violation of the rights of the accused as presented in the Constitution and other legal provisions. For instance, the police violated Miranda’s right to legal representation as provided in the six amendments and the right to remain silent as indicated in the Fifth Amendment (Gross, 2013; Bentz, 2012). Accordingly, the use of the confessions obtained against the accused was wrong. Therefore, the complaints raised indicated that the aspect of writing a declaration should have preceded the interrogations or that Miranda could have been forced into writing and signing the acknowledgment without his consent. As such, using the affirmation would be considered unlawful and unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, the jury assumed that at age 23, Miranda must have understood his legal rights and hence signed the approval with understanding, could have applied a counterargument. Therefore, applying such an assumption could mean that the case was justified, and the court had no jurisdiction to intervene in the police process of arresting and gathering evidence. However, the vote to overturn the conviction ruling was won by a 5-4 vote margin, with various issues in favor of the accused being highlighted. By and large, the argument was that the police denied the accused the right to legal representation and forced him into signing the assertion. Accordingly, the vote required that Miranda be given the right to legal representation and informed of his legal rights.
As it is palpable from the analysis, the historical criminal case involving Miranda and Arizona, as discussed, highlights various issues concerning the Supreme Court. Although after appealing the case Miranda lost, the interrogating officers ensured that the instances of forced confessions were minimized. Therefore, the due diligence process, as observed in the second hearing, that reached the judgment was considered lawful. However, the analysis of the litigation indicated that issues of constitutional concerns were raised and thus, the call to embrace sound legal procedures in criminal proceedings in the country.
Bentz, A. J. (2012). The original public meaning of the Fifth Amendment and Pre-Miranda Silence. Virginia Law Review, 897-934.
Gross, J. P. (2013). Too poor to hire a lawyer but not indigent: How states use the federal poverty guidelines to deprive defendants of their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Wash. & Lee L. Rev., 70, 1173.
Holland, B. (2016). Teaching Miranda v. Arizona at its 50th Anniversary. Social Education, 80(1), 20-25.