Miranda warnings are the obligatory data that the police officers have to read to the suspect while arresting him/her and intending to question. The history of Miranda rights and Miranda warnings begins from the 1966 case of Miranda vs. Arizona, whose essence was in the fact that a person, Ernesto Miranda, was convicted based on the confessions he made to police without being read his rights (Miranda Warning, 2009).
Having appealed to the Supreme Court, Miranda lawyers have managed to prove that conviction of a person whose constitutional rights were not read to him is against the US love for freedom and the inherent rights of all people for protection against discrimination recorded in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (Miranda Warning, 2009). Thus, Miranda warnings defend the right of all people for liberty and protection against unlawful or enforced witnessing, questioning, etc. stipulated in the Fifth Amendment, as well as the possibility to have an attorney as provided by the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution.
Nowadays, Miranda warnings are considered to be the integral part of the United States judicial system. According to Miranda Warning (2009), “the Miranda Warning is a police warning which is given to criminal suspects who are in the custody of law enforcement in the United States before they can ask questions regarding what took place during the crime”. The only case when the police can interrogate the suspect without reading his/her Miranda rights is when the police needs to retrieved specific data including name, address, birth date, etc. All other information can be regarded as evidence by court if, and only if, the police have read the Miranda rights to the person prior to his/her interrogation.
After the 1966 case, all the police officers are obliged to read the Miranda rights to the suspect before detention and interrogation of the latter. Every US state modifies the demand of reading the Miranda rights, and in New Jersey the most recent innovation is the 2009 adopted ruling according to which Miranda rights should be read to juveniles in the presence of their lawyers rather than family members as it will allows clearer understanding of their rights for juveniles and avoiding possible biased opinions if the parents interpreting their rights to juveniles are involved in the criminal cases as either victims or accused persons (Fuchs, 2009). Thus, it is obvious that kids and teenagers also have the right for the Miranda warning, which should be more detailed and prompt than the warning given to an adult.
However, the current development of the American political and social life presents numerous instances when the Miranda warnings are overused. The cases of such overuse range from various daily life occurrences like little misdemeanors and detention cases to reading Miranda rights to international criminals captured for instance in Afghanistan, and even to terrorists (Fox News, 2009). These issues are of dual nature as, on the one hand, reading Miranda rights to every single person who either slightly violates the law or needs to be detailed or arrested urgently takes a lot of time and might lead to other crimes committed during the time when the person refuses to speak using his/her Miranda rights.
On the other hand, if Miranda rights are read to some criminals and not read to others, the issue of discrimination and self-incrimination as stated in the Fifth Amendment arises as the problem of great importance (Vercammen, 2009). As a result, there are both supporters and opponents of excessive Miranda warnings use. The supporters claim that equality of rights should be presented to all people. At the same time, the opponents of this policy, according to Fox News (2009), call a mistake the decision of President Obama to read the Miranda rights to terrorists.
Scholars like Coscarelli (2007) and Fuchs (2009) argue that the so called suppression hearings can be the reasons for Miranda overuse by police. Suppression hearings are the criminal procedures where the defense of a suspect tried to turn all the evidence down that was retrieved with the violation of the defendant’s rights and without reading his/her Miranda rights prior to attempts to question him/her. So, Coscarelli (2007) and Fuchs (2009) argue that police might overuse Miranda warnings and read them even in the cases that do not require it. To avoid this, police officers need to know the cases where Miranda warnings are obligatory and where they can be omitted.
For example, in connection to minor offenses to which the DWI cases belong, there is no obligatory Miranda rights reading required. In other words, Marootian (2009) argues that according to the New Jersey laws the police is not obliged to read the Miranda rights to a DWI driver, and this fact does not mean that the DWI charges are automatically dismissed because of the police’s failure to give Miranda warnings. The point here is that Miranda rights are to be read only before custodial interrogation or arrest, while the roadside interrogation that usually takes place during the DWI cases is not included to this list (Marootian, 2009).
In New Jersey, the Miranda warning rule seriously affects the law enforcement. First of all, police is under the greater pressure of the public mind and responsibility put on them by the demand to read the Miranda warnings. The police have to be aware of the cases where Miranda warnings have to be read and where there is no such necessity. Further on, as Coscarelli (2007) argues, the recent increase of public attention to Miranda rights results in the number of long-lasting criminal cases being reconsidered by the New Jersey State or Supreme Court or by the US Supreme Court. One of the latest examples is the change of the court decision on Michael O’Neill’s conviction for murder.
The New Jersey Supreme Court dismissed the very murder charge based on the fact that Miranda rights were read to Mr. O’Neill only 95 minutes after his custodial questioning in the police department (Coscarelli, 2007). Thus, Miranda rights are sure to modify the law enforcement policies in New Jersey for them to become more disciplined and properly structured. As Rutledge (2005) argues, already today the courts use reasonableness determination for cases where police failed to read Miranda rights, and this process is sure to modify the New Jersey law enforcement procedures for the better.
However, the opinions by judges and public defenders on Miranda warnings differ. The former report the ambiguous text of the warning that can be interpreted variously and both deprives people from their constitutional rights and allows public defenders to find the drawbacks of law to appeal against the court rulings in numerous cases. Public defenders in their turn hail Miranda warnings as frequently used means for handling complicated court cases.
In New Jersey, the Supreme Court praises Miranda warnings as the means of refining the judicial system, reconsiders the cases rules without taking Miranda rights into account, and reforms the court ruling procedures so that the cases where Miranda warnings were to be given but were not do not even come for court hearings.
Coscarelli, Kate. “Man gets another trial in 2003 murder case.” 2007. NJ. News. Web.
Fox News. “U.S. Lawmaker Says Obama Administration Ordered FBI to Read Rights to Detainees.” 2009. Politics. Web.
Fuchs, Mary. “N.J. court says juveniles’ Miranda rights must be read by lawyer in family-related crime.” 2009. NJ. News. Web.
Marootian, Greggory. “New Jersey Drunk Driving (DWI DUI) Myths.” 2009. DWI. Web.
Miranda Warning. “Miranda Rights.” 2009. Miranda Warnings Org. Web.
Rutledge, Peter B. “Miranda and Reasonableness.” 2005. The American Criminal Law Review. Web.
Vercammen, Kenneth. “Miranda Warning.” 2009. NJLaws. Web.