In the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled that anyone accused of a crime must be warned about the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. This video shows how the Miranda decision helped move the country from a state-based criminal justice system to one that has to conform with nationally imposed rules.
Everyone has heard on television and in the movies, accompanying the slap of handcuffs on a criminal's wrists, the following words: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” These words are known as Miranda rights, and they were not always followed.
Ernesto Miranda, a poor Mexican immigrant living in Phoenix, Ariz., was arrested in 1963 after a crime victim identified him in a police lineup. Miranda was charged with rape and kidnapping, and interrogated for two hours while in police custody. The police officers questioning him did not inform him of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, nor of his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of an attorney.
As a result of the interrogation, he confessed in writing to the crimes with which he was charged. During his trial, the prosecution used his confession to obtain a conviction, and he was sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison on each count.
Miranda's defense attorney appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. He argued that Miranda’s confession should have been excluded from trial because he had not been informed of his rights, and an attorney had not been present during his interrogation. The police officers involved admitted that they had not given Miranda any explanation of his rights. They argued, however, that because Miranda had been convicted of a crime in the past, he must have been aware of his rights. The Arizona Supreme Court denied his appeal and upheld his conviction.
The case came down to the fundamental question: What is the role of the police in protecting the rights of the accused, as guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments? The Supreme Court of the United States had made previous attempts to deal with these issues. The court had already ruled that the Fifth Amendment protected individuals from being forced to confess. In 1964, after Miranda's arrest, but before the court heard his case, it ruled that when an accused person is denied the right to consult with an attorney, the Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of a lawyer is violated. But do the police have an obligation to ensure that the accused person is aware of these rights?
In 1965, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear Miranda's case, as well as three other similar ones. The Court combined all the cases into one, which came to be known as Miranda v. Arizona. The decision in the case was handed down in 1966.
NARRATOR: In 1966, the court put an end to a practice that Hugo Black had seen and decried as a young prosecutor back in Birmingham in the 1920's.
DELLINGER: In Miranda against Arizona the Court finally came to the last stage of its concern with police brutality and interrogation techniques which they thought were unfair. And they did it in a fairly dramatic fashion. If you're going to admit a confession against a defendant at trial you've gotta show that he was warned that he had a right to remain silent. And more importantly, that he had a right to a lawyer if he wished one, and finally that if he couldn't afford a lawyer, the state would pay for one.
KOBYLKA: After the Warren Court, you cannot introduce illegally seized evidence into a trial-states can't do that; previously they could. After Gideon v. Wainwright, you have to have an attorney represent you in a trial. After Miranda, you cannot use a coerced confession in a trial to demonstrate guilt -- that has to be excluded from the trial. So what you do is you move from a state-based criminal justice system to a criminal justice system that has to conform with nationally imposed rules.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.