Miranda Decision

In the spring of 1963, Ernesto Miranda confessed to the rape of an 18 year old girl two days after he had been arrested for robbery. Miranda was a career criminal, and the Phoenix police had no doubt that they had the right man. They had a written confession from him, as well as the testimony of his victim.
      It turned out, however, that this so-called “open-and-shut case” has influenced the foundations and structure of American legal history.
      His attorney, Alvin Moore, objected to Miranda’s written confession on the basis that it was coerced and written without an attorney present. (In fact, it said so.)   Moore’s objection was thrown out of court, and Miranda was sentenced to a term of 20 to 30 years on each charge of rape and kidnapping, mostly based on the confession.
      Filing as a pauper, several attorneys took up the constitutional issue that arose due to this conviction. They argued that Miranda’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:

          “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” (Charters of freedom)

      The key phrase here is “to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
      His attorneys argued before the United States Supreme Court, that because Mr. Miranda was never informed of his right to have an attorney present during his questioning, that the conviction against him based on the confession, was invalid and needed to be thrown out.
      In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, agreed...