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5th Amendment Right to Be Free of Self-Incrimination

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Submitted By rkrayos
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Let me first begin by explaining the 5th Amendment. According to the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” In summary, the 5th Amendment protects individuals from self-incrimination.
Next let me briefly explain the Miranda v. Arizona case. In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and rape. After several hours of being interrogated, Miranda finally confessed and agreed to sign a written statement that included a typed disclaimer stating he had full acknowledgement of his legal rights to include understanding that any statements can be used against him and that he voluntarily waived his rights. In actuality, Miranda did not have an attorney present during his questioning, or at his preliminary hearing. The fact that he was not even aware that he had the right to consult with an attorney prior to his court appearance violated his constitutional rights. Consequently he was convicted of his charges and was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. During Miranda’s appeal, his lawyer argued that he had been denied his constitutional rights for illegally obtaining his confession. Eventually his lawyer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a hearing for Miranda’s case. He narrowly won on a 5-4 vote to reverse his conviction on the basis that his constitutional rights had not been presented to him correctly.
This sequence of events permanently changed how law enforcement officials take suspects into custody. The Supreme Court’s decision helped establish the Miranda Warning which states that anyone taken into custody must be formally advised of their rights before being questioned. This leads me to analyze how the Miranda v. Arizona case changed the arrest and interrogation process for law enforcement. Whenever a suspect is arrested and read the Miranda Warning, they must acknowledge with a clear and affirmative answer that they do understand their rights. Remaining silent is insufficient to waiving their rights as the suspect may not understand the question or speak English. Also, at anytime during questioning if the suspect wants to remain silent, the interrogation must stop. If the suspect wants an attorney, then the interrogation must stop until an attorney is present.
It is also important to know that a suspect can be arrested and taken into custody without the Miranda Warning being read. But at anytime that law enforcement officials decide to begin questioning the suspect, the warning must be given. This ensures that any confessions made will not be inadmissible in court. Also, if an officer’s safety becomes an issue, questions may be asked without the suspect being read the Miranda Warning and they can be searched and evidence collected in order to protect the officer. And finally, if you have been read the Miranda Warning and you waive your rights to speak freely, you can change your mind at any time during interrogation and stop answering questions or request an attorney to be present. Overall, the Miranda v. Arizona case helped established the rights of both the suspects and law enforcement officials.…...

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