Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination
Decision Date: June 13, 1966
Background: Ernesto Miranda, a Mexican immigrant living in Phoenix, Arizona, was identified in a police lineup by a woman, who accused him of kidnapping and raping her. Miranda was arrested and questioned by the police for two hours until he confessed to the crimes. During the interrogation, police did not tell Miranda about his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination or his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. The case went to trial in an Arizona state court and the prosecutor used the confession as evidence against Miranda, who was convicted and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. Miranda's attorney appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, which upheld the conviction. Then he appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which agreed to hear it along with four similar cases. In taking the case, the Court had to determine the role police have in protecting the rights of the accused guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
Decision: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Miranda. This decision gave rise to what has become known as the Miranda Warning. While jurisdictions have their own regulations as to the precise warning given to a person interrogated in police custody, the typical warning states:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?