Protecting the Rights of the Accused: The Right to Remain Silent

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).


Miranda was a landmark 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States handed down in 1966.  Miranda followed two other recent landmark decisions, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), where the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution required that the states must provide a criminal defense lawyer to anyone accused of a crime, even if the accused could not afford a criminal defense lawyer, and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964), where the Supreme Court held that criminal suspects had the right to have a criminal defense lawyer present during police interrogations under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Chief Justice Earl Warren, who has himself a former prosecutor, authored the opinion of the Court.  The basic tenant of the decision was that a defendant who was accused or suspected of a crime and questioned or interrogated while in police custody or significantly deprived of his freedom by the police, must be informed of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney, even if he cannot afford one.


The decision was widely and robustly criticized when it was handed down and it was generally believed that an increase in crime was imminent because of the Miranda decision.  Richard Nixon stated that the decision undermined police efficiency and he vowed to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who were “strict constructionists” of the Constitution.  People believed that once suspects were informed of the right to remain silent, they would always demand a criminal lawyer and prevent the police from effectively fighting and investigating crime.  However, in the forty plus years since Miranda was decided, countless suspects have been informed of their right to remain silent via Miranda warnings, yet they confess to the crime or short of outright confessing, give the police enough evidence to obtain a conviction against them.  You have the right to remain silent, USE IT!  The police are not on your side.  They want to find sufficient evidence to convict you of a crime, not “help you straighten things out.”


If you think that the police may have violated your rights by questioning you while you were in custody without reading you your Miranda warnings, contact a Tulsa defense attorney now to see if your rights were violated and to see if your statement can be suppressed so that it cannot be used against you in a court of law.

Contact us today if you need a Tulsa defense Attorney!