Miranda Updates

Two cases have come down this year which have brought new light to Miranda.  Both of the cases have dealt with deviations from the standard Miranda warnings and the legality of the deviation.  The 9th Circuit case dealt with an officer who tried to explain the Miranda warnings and clearly deviated from the Miranda form.  During his long explanation of Miranda, the office down-played the significance of Miranda and stated that the suspect had a right to an attorney if he was involved.  This deviation implied, incorrectly, that a person is only entitled to the assistance of counsel during the interrogation if they were involved in a crime.  This made it so invoking your right to have counsel present was an indication that you had committed the crime since you only had that right if you had committed the crime.  The confession was thrown out because the Miranda warnings were constitutionally deficient as they did not clearly and reasonably inform the suspect of their right to counsel, in addition to other reasons.

The Supreme Court also addressed the issue of Miranda Deviations but in contrast to the 9th Circuit found that the Miranda warnings were sufficient.  In that case, the officer stated that the suspect had the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions and later stated that the suspect had the right to use any of the enumerated rights at any time they want during the interview.  The Supreme Court upheld the deviation because the essential information was conveyed.  Miranda requires that a suspect is clearly informed of their right to consult with a lawyer and that they can invoke that right at any point of the interview.  The decision states that the deviation conveyed both the right to have counsel present and that the right to have counsel present can be invoked at any time, and even though the officer had deviated from the typical Miranda warnings, the message was still present.  The Court clearly states that even though the two warnings were separated, it still clearly informed the suspect that the right to counsel was available at any time.

This blog is meant to be informative and does not constitute legal advice, and while I do encourage others to post and discuss this topic, I can not and will not respond to any questions as it can create a conflict of interest and possible ethical violations.



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