Categorized | Opinion

The Right to Remain Silent

By David PeelDavid Peel

“You have the right to remain silent…” As an injury lawyer, I see legal television shows a bit differently than I saw them before I went to law school.  Of course, any good legal thriller will show you a suspect getting read his “Miranda Rights.”
1. they have the right to remain silent;
2. anything the suspect does say can and MAY be used against them;
3. they have the right to have an attorney present before and during the questioning; and
4. they have the right, if they cannot afford the services of an attorney, to have one appointed.
But the back-story as to why police now“Mirandize” their suspects before questioning is fascinating, and not well known.
It is 1963. Ernesto Miranda was placed under arrest.
The charge?
Allegedly, he stole a whopping $8 from someone.
During questioning, this criminal actually confessed to kidnapping and raping a young woman. Miranda wrote “With full knowledge of my legal rights” on his written confession. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On appeal, he claimed to have never truly understood his rights while held in custody and questioned. No cop had explained them, apparently, so the court held confession was inadmissible in court. Without that confession, the confessed kidnapper and rapist, was set free on the streets.
Eventually, however, he was retried and convicted without the confession and served 11 years of his 20-30 year sentence.
In a act similar to what Texas A & M’s Johnny Manziel has recently been accused of, this lowlife actually sold autographed Miranda rights cards for $1.50 each. He liked card games as well. During a $2 card game at a bar, he was stabbed to death, dying at the hands of the violent life he led. This is where it gets interesting. Police managed to arrest a man who had actually handed Ernesto Miranda’s killer the knife. All he had to do was to tell the killer’s identity and Miranda’s killer would get justice. But he knew, because of Miranda, he could remain silent, and he did. The killer escaped to Mexico, never to be heard from again.
Ernesto Miranda’s killer walked because of Miranda rights.
We reap what we sow.

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October 2013
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