Supreme Court to revoke US ‘right to silence’

Everything indicates that the US Supreme Court will overturn the 1966 precedent that instituted the “Miranda Warning” across the country. And, probably, leave it to each state to legislate something similar.

The Supreme Court must leave to each state the attribution of legislating on the subject

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Anyone who is not a lawyer probably doesn’t know what Miranda’s “warning” is (Miranda warning)” or what are “Miranda rights (Miranda rights)”. But the content of this precedent will sound familiar to anyone who has seen American films or series with scenes of arrest, in which the police officer recites the constitutional rights of the detained citizen: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You have the right to a lawyer.”

Without this advance warning, the police can only ask the suspect to provide his name, date of birth and address—no other information. A police officer may also warn the suspect that if he cannot hire a lawyer, the judge will appoint a dative. And ask if, with that information in mind, you want to talk to him.

Popularly, the right not to incriminate oneself when being interrogated by law enforcement officers became better known as the “right to silence” — a stake in the US criminal system that protects the detained citizen from abuses by investigators, such as interrogation. coercive, lying about evidence obtained, etc.

The right was enshrined by a decision of the Supreme Court in the case Miranda v. Arizona. Ernesto Arturo Miranda was convicted based solely on his written and signed confession of the crime of kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to a term of 20 to 30 years in prison. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction because the police did not explain to Miranda his rights before questioning him.

The court sent the case back to the lower court, with the instruction that prosecutors cannot use a suspect’s confession as evidence at trial if he is not advised of his rights — unless the defendant explicitly waives them, consciously, intelligently and voluntarily. Even so, the suspect can, at any time, change his mind, request the presence of a lawyer and not confess anything else.

The institution “Miranda rights” will cease to exist as a valid rule for the entire country, but the defendant’s rights to remain silent, not incriminate himself and be represented by a lawyer remain, because they are sedimented in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. from the USA. Only the federal mandate to announce to the detained suspect his constitutional rights will be extinguished.

Of these rights, the most popular is to remain silent, which has gained its own expression: plead the fifth (or take the fifth), which exactly means refusing to speak when being interrogated by security agents or by a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry.

If the suspect becomes a defendant, these two amendments grant him other rights, such as due process, a speedy and public trial, in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed, an impartial jury, to be informed of the nature and cause of the( s) prosecution(s), to confront witnesses against him (through his lawyer) and to have a compulsory process to obtain witnesses in his favor.

Once the usual procedure of the police of announcing to the detained suspect their rights, as provided for in the “Miranda warning”, it will be up to each state to legislate on the matter. And for the local police to act as locally established.

By shifting that responsibility to the states—just as it will do with the right to abortion, by overturning the precedent that legalized it across the country—the Supreme Court will create a situation in which right-to-silence legislation will break down. turn into a patchwork quilt.

There will be larger and smaller patches because, in addition to the states, counties and municipalities also have their own criminal laws and will be able to legislate on the subject. And they will be multicolored patches because, in some places, they will follow the liberal-democratic spirit (blue), in others, the conservative-republican spirit (red) and still in others, some intermediate spirits (halftones).

Democratic states will likely pass laws that mirror the content of the “Miranda warning” — and maybe even improve it a little. In republican states, not much goodwill can be expected on behalf of criminal suspects. One of the most popular election slogans for Republican politicians is to be “tough on crime”—meaning not giving a smidgen.

Therefore, it will not be a priority in Republican-controlled legislatures to regulate these constitutional rights of persons detained by the police. Or they can be regulated, but legislation can give detectives more wings to be more successful in their interrogations.

In order to assert their rights, whatever they may be in one state or another, suspects will have to know them for themselves. In that case, Ernesto Miranda’s conviction would not have been overturned, because he was not aware of these constitutional precepts.

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