The following are landmark cases that have had an impact various aspects of our lives:
Miranda v. Arizona
384 U.S. 436 (1966)
(Case Syllabus edited by the Author)
In each of these cases, the defendant, while in police custody, was questioned by police officers, detectives, or a prosecuting attorney in a room in which he was cut off from the outside world. None of the defendants was given a full and effective warning of his rights at the outset of the interrogation process. In all four cases, the questioning elicited oral admissions, and, in three of them, signed statements as well, which were admitted at their trials. All defendants were convicted, and all convictions, except in No. 584, were affirmed on appeal.
1. The prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody, or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way, unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.
- The atmosphere and environment of incommunicado interrogation as it exists today is inherently intimidating and works to undermine the privilege against self-incrimination. Unless adequate preventive measures are taken to dispel the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings, no statement obtained from the defendant can truly be the product of his free choice.
- The privilege against self-incrimination, which has had a long and expansive historical
development is the essential mainstay of our adversary system and guarantees to the individual the “right to remain silent unless he chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own will,” during a period of custodial interrogation, as well as in the courts or during the course of other official investigations.
- The decision in Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U. S. 478, stressed the need for protective devices to make the process of police interrogation conform to the dictates of the privilege.
- In the absence of other effective measures, the following procedures to safeguard the Fifth Amendment privilege must be observed: the person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.
- If the individual indicates, prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease; if he states that he wants an attorney, the questioning must cease until an attorney is present.
- Where an interrogation is conducted without the presence of an attorney, and a statement is taken, a heavy burden rests on the Government to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel.
- Where the individual answers some questions during in-custody interrogation, he has not waived his privilege, and may invoke his right to remain silent thereafter.
- The warnings required, and the waiver needed are, in the absence of a fully effective equivalent, prerequisites to the admissibility of any statement, inculpatory or exculpatory, made by a defendant.
2. The limitations on the interrogation process required for the protection of the individual’s constitutional rights should not cause an undue interference with a proper system of law enforcement, as demonstrated by the procedures of the FBI and the safeguards afforded in other jurisdictions.
3. In all of these cases the statements were obtained under circumstances that did not meet constitutional standards for protection of the privilege against self-incrimination.
98 Ariz.18; 15 N.Y.2d 970; 16 N.Y.2d 614; 342 F.2d 684, reversed; 62 Cal.2d 571, affirmed.