Miranda Rights Upheld by Supreme Court
In perhaps its most important criminal law case of the decade, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a decisive 7-2 decision upholding its legendary Miranda ruling of 34 years ago. (See: Miranda: Rights of Silence, by your About Guide)
Under the Miranda ruling, police are required to inform all criminal suspects of their rights to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney during all questioning.
The case decided today -- Dickerson v. United States -- challenged the Supreme Court's 1966 Miranda ruling and asked that federal law be changed to allow courts to accept voluntary confessions from suspects when police fail, or are unable to inform the suspect of his or her rights.
In January 1997, suspected bank robber Charles Dickerson gave a voluntary confession to FBI agents that he had driven the getaway car in recent bank robberies.
At trial, an Alexandria, Virginia federal judge disallowed the confession as evidence, finding that Dickerson had not been advised of his Miranda rights before giving the confession.
On appeal by the U.S. government, a U.S. Court of appeals ruled that a federal law passed by Congress in 1968 allowing voluntary confessions to be accepted as evidence "trumped" the Miranda law. The 1968 law was never recognized or upheld by the Supreme Court.
Today's ruling by the Supreme Court finds that the appeals court was wrong.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Rehnquist finds Miranda to be a constitutional decision of the Supreme Court that could not be overridden by an action of Congress.
"We ... hold that Miranda and its progeny in this court govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts," Justice Rehnquist writes in the majority decision.
The U.S. Justice Department defended the Miranda decision and hailed today's decision as one that would promote the public's confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system.
Dickerson v. United States
Complete text of today's Supreme Court case and decision from FindLaw.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)
The historic case that gave us the Miranda rights. From FindLaw.
Miranda: Rights of Silence
How did we get the "right to remain silent?" From your About Guide
Miranda at Risk
Under pressure from a law professor, the Supreme Court just might gut the famous requirement that suspects be read their rights. From Civil Liberties Guide, J.D, Tuccille.
Miranda Under Fire
US News Guide Clare Saliba offers another view on the Supreme Court's reconsideration of Miranda v. Arizona and offers additional links to new coverage around the U.S.
Miranda Warnings: What's the Point?
A detailed explanation of the Supreme Courts Miranda decision and it's legal implications from About.com Guide to the Law, Paul S. Reed.
Miranda On Trial
Does Miranda go too far in protecting persons accused of crimes? Crime Guide, Bill Bickel asks your opinion.
A New Miranda Warning
Attempts to subvert, even throw out, the Miranda rights abound. Civil Liberties Guide, J.D, Tuccille tells you about a few.
Miranda Rights Net Resources
Want to learn more? About.com Guide to the Law, Paul S. Reed, has compiled this great set of Miranda references.
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