Criminal Justice: Doubts About Miranda

Critics who accuse the Supreme Court of pampering criminals often cite the case of Ernesto Miranda, a confessed rapist whose conviction was reversed by the court in 1966. Miranda, say the critics, got an undeserved break. Worse, his appeal led the court to lay down ridiculously strict rules on confessions, and those rules are helping other criminals while they hamper police.

It seems to be an empty complaint. Miranda himself only won a retrial—and he was reconvicted. More important, according to studies made in New Haven and Washington, D.C., most of the criminal suspects whose constitutional rights Miranda forced the...

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