Supreme Court Debates Whether Miranda Rights Are 5th Amendment Rights

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Anyone who has seen a police show or two can probably recite the Miranda warning by heart.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you.”

It’s said routinely, and not always effectively as those same cop shows teach (wrongly) that if you can just hit the cops with a convincing enough argument they’ll probably let you go.

Yet the Miranda warning has caused some legal issues since it was first made the law of the land in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. 

What the Supreme Court Actually Decided in Miranda

Miranda didn’t so much as force police officers to use the warning directly as indirectly, by ruling that the 5th Amendment will render any statements that a defendant in custody makes during an interrogation inadmissible unless law enforcement officers inform them of their rights first. 

There’s a reason the deliverance of the warning is usually so short and perfunctory. They’re not really trying to drive that message home to a defendant. They don’t even really want it to sink into the brain. They’re fulfilling a legal requirement. They’ll then, if you let them, go right on using the Reid Technique to get you to try to talk. If you talk after being warned, then you’re essentially waiving your 5th Amendment rights.

We advise our clients to say absolutely nothing beyond their name, contact information, and the fact that they’re invoking their rights to silence and an attorney. It’s far too easy to make a mistake when you start making statements to the police.

What’s Coming Up for Debate

The recent case comes from Terence B. Tekoh, a hospital attendant accused of sexually abusing an immobilized patient. The Miranda warning was not given, ad Tekoh claims that he was intimidated into giving a confession. According to Mr. Tekoh, he was put i a closed room for an hour, berated, and threatened with deportation by an officer who had his had on his gun.

A jury acquitted Tekoh. He then used an 1871 federal civil rights law called Section 1983 which allows citizens to sue state officials when they violate constitutional rights. 

The question at issue is whether receiving a Miranda warning is actually one of your 5th Amendment rights. Tekoh’s side says it is. Tekoh’s opposition says that it’s a constitutional rule, not a constitutional right. One can be sued over, one can’t. 

The Supreme Court has heard arguments on this issue but has yet to render an opinion.

What You Should Do With This Information

This case does not fundamentally change what you should do if you ever find yourself sitting in an interrogation room, which is to repeat, over and over again, that you invoke your right to remain silent and to an attorney. You need to do this no matter what is said, no matter what evidence they tell you they have, no matter what is threatened.

It’s the only way to ensure they don’t take whatever they say and use it to craft a theory of the case that could land you in prison. Even things that you say which you believe to be exculpatory can, through the use of misleading questions and information drops, actually put nails in your coffin. Even if you’re innocent. It also opens the door for you to be psychologically manhandled and harassed into giving a false confession.

Tekoh v. Vega will tell you if you can sue a cop who fails to give a warning, but it won’t change that fundamental truth.

Need to invoke your right to an attorney? Contact our office today.

See also:

Wrongful Convictions in Los Angeles, CA

What to Do If the Police Are At the Door of Your Los Angeles Home

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After a Los Angeles Arrest

Supreme Court Debates Whether Miranda Rights Are 5th Amendment Rights

inne-rpage-seperator

Anyone who has seen a police show or two can probably recite the Miranda warning by heart.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you.”

It’s said routinely, and not always effectively as those same cop shows teach (wrongly) that if you can just hit the cops with a convincing enough argument they’ll probably let you go.

Yet the Miranda warning has caused some legal issues since it was first made the law of the land in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. 

What the Supreme Court Actually Decided in Miranda

Miranda didn’t so much as force police officers to use the warning directly as indirectly, by ruling that the 5th Amendment will render any statements that a defendant in custody makes during an interrogation inadmissible unless law enforcement officers inform them of their rights first. 

There’s a reason the deliverance of the warning is usually so short and perfunctory. They’re not really trying to drive that message home to a defendant. They don’t even really want it to sink into the brain. They’re fulfilling a legal requirement. They’ll then, if you let them, go right on using the Reid Technique to get you to try to talk. If you talk after being warned, then you’re essentially waiving your 5th Amendment rights.

We advise our clients to say absolutely nothing beyond their name, contact information, and the fact that they’re invoking their rights to silence and an attorney. It’s far too easy to make a mistake when you start making statements to the police.

What’s Coming Up for Debate

The recent case comes from Terence B. Tekoh, a hospital attendant accused of sexually abusing an immobilized patient. The Miranda warning was not given, ad Tekoh claims that he was intimidated into giving a confession. According to Mr. Tekoh, he was put i a closed room for an hour, berated, and threatened with deportation by an officer who had his had on his gun.

A jury acquitted Tekoh. He then used an 1871 federal civil rights law called Section 1983 which allows citizens to sue state officials when they violate constitutional rights. 

The question at issue is whether receiving a Miranda warning is actually one of your 5th Amendment rights. Tekoh’s side says it is. Tekoh’s opposition says that it’s a constitutional rule, not a constitutional right. One can be sued over, one can’t. 

The Supreme Court has heard arguments on this issue but has yet to render an opinion.

What You Should Do With This Information

This case does not fundamentally change what you should do if you ever find yourself sitting in an interrogation room, which is to repeat, over and over again, that you invoke your right to remain silent and to an attorney. You need to do this no matter what is said, no matter what evidence they tell you they have, no matter what is threatened.

It’s the only way to ensure they don’t take whatever they say and use it to craft a theory of the case that could land you in prison. Even things that you say which you believe to be exculpatory can, through the use of misleading questions and information drops, actually put nails in your coffin. Even if you’re innocent. It also opens the door for you to be psychologically manhandled and harassed into giving a false confession.

Tekoh v. Vega will tell you if you can sue a cop who fails to give a warning, but it won’t change that fundamental truth.

Need to invoke your right to an attorney? Contact our office today.

See also:

Wrongful Convictions in Los Angeles, CA

What to Do If the Police Are At the Door of Your Los Angeles Home

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After a Los Angeles Arrest

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