Miranda v. Arizona
- Pick a controversial court case (Miranda v. Arizona)
Write at least a five (5) page paper describing the controversy.
SECTIONS OF PAPER TO INCLUDE:
1. Describe the parties involved.
2. Describe the involvement of the courts.
3. Describe the competing views? (including strengths and weaknesses of both positions)
4. Describe what is at stake for each side?
5. Describe if you agree with the outcome or what you believe should be the outcome and why?
Please include citations of your sources. Please especially include the sources you used to learn about the controversy that you are writing about. If you are using an online source, please include the html address in a footnote or table of authorities.
- Pick a controversial court case (Miranda v. Arizona)
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||4||Style||APA|
Miranda V. Arizona
The Miranda V. Arizona was a legal court case in the United States of America in the state of Arizona involving custodial questioning in which a suspect was required to have been advised in accordance with the provisions of the Fifth Amendment before interrogation by the police officers or his attorney before incriminating himself/herself (Maclin, 2015). The outcome of the court ruling was a significant event of the United States of America Supreme Court. There were several parties involved in this court case, as well as the appeal that followed the court ruling.
Miranda v. Arizona
The main suspect, Ernest Miranda, was apprehended at his residence and secured in a police station where a witness managed to recognize and confirm his identity. Miranda was then taken into interrogation for two hours by two police officers. This interrogation yielded a signed self-incriminating confession to be used at trial in deciding the outcome of his case by the jury. Miranda was found guilty of multiple counts ranging from kidnapping to rape. For these counts, he was slapped with a sentence of 20 to 30 years behind bars on each individual count. Upon appealing at the supreme court of Arizona, it was unanimously agreed that the defendant’s constitutional rights during interrogation were not violated by the interrogating officers.
Vignera v. New York
On this case, the defendant was taken into custody by the New York police department after linking him to a dress shop robbery three days before. After being moved about between detectives, he eventually admitted to the robbery in an oral confession leading to his official arrest. He was detained at the 70th precinct and presented before an assistant district attorney in the presence of a reporter who recorded the conversation. Both sets of evidence were presented before a jury in a court of law where he was convicted for 30 to 60 years in prison after he was found guilty.
Westover v. United States
The defendant Westover was detained by the local law enforcement in Kansas after being linked to two counts of robbery. Prior to his arrest, it was reported that Westover was wanted for a felony by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. After successive interrogations by both the FBI and the local law enforcement officers, Westover signed two separate self-incriminating confessions prepared by the interrogating officers. These two confessions were used to determine the case’s outcome, and he was slapped with a 15-year sentence behind bars on each count. The court of appeal for the ninth circuit withheld the original ruling and the conviction held. (Holland, 2015).
California v. Stewart
While investigating a murder that resulted from a purse snatch robbery, Stewart was identified as the person of interest as the main suspect. He was arrested at his residence alongside his wife and those who visited him while in detention. On nine separate occasions within five days, Stewart was grilled by officers and eventually caved and confessed to robbing the victim on the fifth day. These statements were used against Stewart in the trial as he was charged with murder and handed the death sentence. On this very occasion, the Supreme Court reversed the verdict and ruled that the defendant should have been guided on his constitutional right to remain silent and seek appropriate counsel.
The Involvement of the Courts
The courts played a crucial role in the form of passing judgment on the accused. The court reiterates that the Fifth Amendment privilege is a right to all citizens. To that effect, the prosecution may not present statements as evidence in a court of law obtained from the interrogation of a suspect in police custody unless it clearly demonstrates the application of safeguards against self-incrimination. By interrogating a suspect under police custody, a suspect is denied his constitutional freedom of action.
The courts further established that without viable protection from interrogation, an individual’s will to resist pressure is extensively tested while being compelled to speak under the custody of law enforcement officers. It is, therefore, an establishment of the courts that a suspect is required to be warned before being subjected to any form of interrogation that they have the right to remain silent, and anything uttered by the suspected can be used against them in a court of law. The court also established that a suspect is entitled to the presence of an attorney. If the suspect desires, an attorney will be appointed to guide them through the case before being subjected to any form of interrogation.
The Supreme Court in Arizona reversed the judgment of Miranda, overturned the rulings of appeals in New York, and eventually reversed the decision of Westover in the Ninth Circuit. The very same Supreme Court confirmed the verdict of Stewart in California.
In the Miranda v. Arizona ruling, there were plenty of competing views on the case. One such view was that Miranda signed a written confession to incriminate himself, but still, this crucial evidence would later be dismissed as unlawful. Even following the dismissal of this type of evidence, the suspect, Miranda, was still found guilty of the crimes he had earlier been accused of. Three years after he was arrested, Miranda is still served a thirty years sentence while relying on other sources of evidence other than his signed confession.
It is also controversial that the court would rather rely on unclear witness accounts rather than the signed confession of the prime suspect who has confirmed that they are guilty of a crime. In establishing a report of the actual occurrence of a crime, law enforcement officers should be free to obtain evidence for or against a case. This is possible considering the signed confession in the same capacity as a witness account as the perpetrator of the crime was also present when the actual crime was committed. Besides the claim that interrogations are compelling, they are rather unfounded claims as an innocent suspect is unlikely to sign a written account admitting to having committed a crime. The advantage of this standpoint is that an individual is given a chance to receive a fair trial without being coerced by law enforcement officers. The court is also able to rely on third-party accounts that can be confirmed rather than that of an individual under pressure to acknowledge and admit committing a crime that he may have no idea about. (Cassell & Fowles, 2017).
Another conflicting viewpoint is the role of the court. The court is tasked with serving justice as it is deserved; whether guilty or not, the court is obligated to protect both the interests of the complainant and the defendant. The very same courts enforce laws. This actually promotes the interest of the accused by protecting a self-incriminated criminal while seeming to doubt the version of the complainant by dismissing a signed confession. While doing this, the court ensures that the law protects all citizens, whether guilty or innocent, and conviction is based on factual and tangible evidence presented by the prosecution against the convicted suspect. The provision of a lawyer by the court is also a way of offering a suspect a chance to be professionally represented in a court of law. On the contrary, this can be viewed as a way of offering a self-convicted criminal a chance to get away with a crime partly depending on the attorney acquired.
With every court case, a judgment is expected of the jury based on the evidence collected. In the event of a crime being committed in the absence of witnesses, the chance to obtain the only witness account of the events that actually occurred at the crime scene is dismissed. In the event of murder without actual witnesses, the assailant is likely to walk free despite having committed a crime. The victim is denied justice even though there exists a signed confession admitting to having committed the crime.
Personally, I believe that the rights of every individual is equally important. A suspect ought to be entitled to an attorney so as to defend himself/herself appropriately. Similarly, every complainant is entitled to use any form of evidence relevant to a case, including a signed, self-discriminating account of events. The law is there so as to promote the interest of every citizen and ensure that every suspect is deserving of a fair court trial.
Cassell, P. G., & Fowles, R. (2017). Still Handcuffing the Cops: A Review of Fifty Years of Empirical Evidence of Miranda’s Harmful Effects on Law Enforcement. BUL Rev., 97, 685.
Holland, B. (2015). Miranda v. Arizona: 50 Years of Judges Regulating Police Interrogation. Insights on L. & Soc’y, 16, 4.
Maclin, T. (2015). A comprehensive analysis of the history of interrogation law, with some shots directed at Miranda v. Arizona.