Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You Have the Right to Remain Silent...

"You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford an attorney, one may be appointed to you at no cost."

You know this phrase. Anyone who has ever watched tv or seen a movie knows it. Thanks to the Warren Court 46 years ago today, these words are now repeated all across the country all day long.

It's hard to imagine a time that these words were not common. But 46 years ago, the right to remain silent and to an attorney were not common knowledge. Thanks to the Warren Court in Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, people can no longer be interrogated at length without being advised of their rights.

Granted, they don't always take advantage of them, but that too is their right. Ernesto Miranda was ultimately convicted again at his second trial, but his name and case are now part of history.

Happy Anniversary to one of the most important days in the American legal system.