Miranda not an issue in arrest procedures

Hello, After reading a letter in a previous addition of the Western Carolinian, I want to make an attempt at explaining why the author of “Arrested without being Read My Rights” wasn’t read his Miranda Rights. I am a Criminal Justice major at WCU, and I’m currently serving an internship with a Federal Law Enforcement Agency. So I even checked on the issue with one of the Special Agents. It’s really a simple explanation…and, as much as you don’t want to admit it…the officer’s explanation was correct. You were not being questioned; therefore, Miranda had no place in your situation. Here is a brief summary of why we have Miranda Rights. The process of being “read your rights” came about due to an incident in Arizona in 1963 when Ernesto Miranda was arrested for armed robbery and the kidnapping and raping of a slightly retarded 18-year-old female. Ernesto already had a very lavish crime record, and when he was in police custody, he signed a written confession to the crime. After he was convicted, his lawyers appealed the decision stating that Miranda did not know that he was protected from self-incrimination. The ruling actually came in 1966, when the Supreme Court overthrew the conviction and determined that the accused do have the right to remain silent, and any statements made while in police custody are not permitted in court, UNLESS the police have advised the accused individual of their rights. However, let it be known that Miranda was re-tried and convicted based on other evidence and served 11 years in prison. Another side note: Ernesto Miranda died in 1976 as the result of being stabbed in a bar fight. A suspect was arrested, but chose to exercise his right to remain silent, and was released. It is also important to know that police officers are not legally required to read you your rights when you are arrested. It may be in their best interest to do so, but it’s not mandatory. Most times when arrests are made and questioning is not required, the reading of rights is omitted. But remember, police ARE allowed to ask you questions regarding your identity (name, address, date of birth, SS #, etc.) WITHOUT reading your rights first. So don’t try to pull the old “Yo no hablo ingles” when an officer asks you these simple questions. I hope this clears things up for anyone who has been confused by this issue. And next time, it is probably better to stay out of the way of law enforcement officers. You may not have felt any danger in the area, but they may have been responding to a medical emergency, and your interference to ask three little questions for a Political Science paper could have cost someone his or her life.-Jason Long

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