Monday, Dec. 13, 2010

Miranda v. Arizona

That most television-friendly of Supreme Court cases, Miranda v. Arizona, was decided in 1966. Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the court determined 5 to 4 that the police had to follow certain procedures to ensure the protection of a criminal suspect's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The ruling included the stipulations that suspects be told they have the right to remain silent, that anything they say could be used against them and that they have the right to an attorney. Without these Miranda warnings, the court deemed, prosecutors could not use statements made by defendants under interrogation. The decision reversed the conviction of Ernesto Miranda, who had been found guilty of kidnapping and rape in Arizona after he had confessed during police questioning without being informed of his rights.

Date Decided: June 13, 1966

Chief Justice Presiding: Earl Warren

Vote Split: 5-4.

Dissenting justices argued that the new protections would seriously weaken law enforcement and that the Fifth Amendment did not forbid law officers from interrogating a suspect held in custody.