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Students in Ninth Circuit Contest Recall Miranda

Judges with 9th Circuit Civics Contest winners

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy; District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of San Diego, who chairs the Courts and Community Committee; and Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas with the first place winners, Daniela Mirelll and Ivan Skvaril.

For high school student Ivan Skvaril, the events that led to the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case occurred long ago and in a place far removed from his home in Guam. But with the help of video recreations and a well-crafted voiceover, he showed how the now-famous Miranda warning helps fulfill the Pledge of Allegiance's promise of "justice for all."

Daniela Mirell, a rising junior in Southern California, wrote an essay about Miranda’s relevance today. “While many people might not know other portions of the Constitution, Miranda is etched in the public mind the meaning and importance of the privilege against self-incrimination,” she wrote.

The two were first-place winners of the 2016 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest. Essays and videos were submitted by more than 700 students, from the western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island areas.

This year’s contest focused on honoring the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1966 decision in Ernesto Miranda v. the State of Arizona. The ruling affirms the right of all persons being held in custody to be advised of their constitutional right to remain silent and have an attorney present while being interrogated.  

The Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee reviewed 36 essays and 25 videos that reached the final round. Ivan and Daniela each received a $2,000 cash prize and the chance to meet Ninth Circuit judges, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, at the 2016 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Montana.

Second- and third-place winners in the essay and video categories each received cash prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively. As an introduction to the conference’s main event, the first-place winning essay and video were displayed to the federal bench and bar.

Ivan, 16, whose short film re-enacts scenes from the case of Miranda vs. Arizona, will be a junior at St. John’s School in Guam this fall.  

Daniela’s winning essay, “The Right to Know Your Rights: The Lessons of Miranda,” explains the history, controversy and fairness of the Miranda rule. She is an honor student at Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, California.

The 2016 Ninth Circuit Civics winners were:

Essay Competition

1st place – Daniela Mirell, Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, California.

2nd place – Jeri Raizel Yu St. John’s School in Tumon, Guam.

3rd place – Caroline Frieders, Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona.

Video Competition

1st place – Ivan Skvaril, St. John’s School in Tumon, Guam.

2nd place – Daniel Considine, San Pedro Valley High School in Benson, Arizona.

3rd place – Mariela Gandara, Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, California.

Learn more about the contest and the winners.