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Handout #3:
MIRANDA V. ARIZONA (1966) AND RELATED PRECEDENT CASES

Before the Court decided the Miranda case, it had made these decisions relating to the Fifth and Sixth amendments:

  • In Brown v. Mississippi (1936), the Court had ruled that the Fifth Amendment protected individuals from being forced to confess.

  • In Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the Court held that persons accused of felonies have a fundamental Sixth Amendment right to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one.

  • In Escobedo v. Illinois (1964), the Court ruled that when an accused person is denied the right to consult with his attorney, his or her Sixth Amendment right to counsel is violated.

In Miranda, the Court essentially said:

  • If police and prosecutors want to admit a confession against a defendant at trial, they must show that before the suspect was questioned in custody, he or she was warned of the rights to remain silent and to an attorney.

  • Suspects who waive their rights to remain silent and/or to an attorney must do so "voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently."

  • If a defendant believes warnings were not given or that the confession was coerced, his or her attorneys can ask the judge to exclude from the trial the confession and any evidence obtained through the confession. This is called the exclusionary rule.


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