Paper: An Analysis of the 1963 Trial of Ernesto Miranda and Its Impact on American Legal Practice

From the testimony of the officers and by the admission of the accused, it is clear that Miranda's right to legal counsel was not protected during the interrogation, nor was his right not to self-incriminate himself effectively protected in any other manner. Without these warnings the statements were inadmissible. The fact that he signed a statement, which contained a clause stating that he had “full knowledge" of his “legal rights", does not come close to satisfying the waiver required to relinquish constitutional rights. In 1966, the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, heard the Miranda case and eliminated a great deal of confusion about confessions. Its purpose was to ensure that the poor, uneasy in the presence of police and unfamiliar with their rights under the law, would be told of their right to legal counsel and assured that they did not need to answer questions until counsel was provided. Police and prosecutors both viewed this class of people as providing the bulk of criminal activity and were concerned that providing them with lawyers would make it more difficult to get them to confess to their crimes and would thus reduce the number of convictions. The Supreme Court, taking into account the opinion of law enforcement agencies and others affected by the case, over-turned Miranda's conviction with a 5-4 majority. On June 13, 1966, Chief Justice Earl Warren, for the first time established definitive guidelines about what is and what is not permissible in the interrogation room: Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has the right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed The importance of Miranda vs. Arizona cannot be overstated....