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CJ 500 Sample Case Brief

Facts: Mr. Miranda was arrested at his residence, taken into custody, and subsequently brought to the police station. While in custody at the police station, Mr. Miranda was identified by a witness who made an accusation and complaint against him. Mr. Miranda was then interrogated by police officers for approximately two hours. Mr. Miranda subsequently confessed to the crime and gave a signed, written confession. Mr. Miranda was never advised of his right to counsel or his right to remain silent. At trial, the oral and written confessions were presented to the jury. Miranda was found guilty of kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to 20 to 30 years imprisonment on each count. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Arizona held that Miranda’s constitutional rights were not violated in obtaining the confession. Issue: Whether statements that are obtained from an individual who is in custody and being interrogated are admissible at trial if the suspect has not been advised of his Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent and his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Ruling: Confession received in violation of an individual’s Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment privileges are inadmissible in trial if the individual has not been advised of his or her rights. Analysis: The court held that there can be no doubt that the Fifth Amendment privilege is available outside of criminal court proceedings and serves to protect persons in all settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way from being compelled to incriminate themselves. (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966) As such, the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. By custodial interrogation, we mean 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. (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966) The court further held that without proper safeguards the process of in-custody interrogation of persons suspected or accused of crime contains inherently compelling pressures which work to undermine the individual’s will to resist and to compel him to speak where he would otherwise do so freely. (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966) Therefore, a defendant must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires. (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966) Conclusion: Based on the aforementioned reasons, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled and reversed the conviction of Edwin Miranda in the state of Arizona.

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