May 1 is Law Day! It was founded in 1957 by the American Bar Association, with each year having a different theme. 2016 was Miranda Rights.
- 2017 was The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy
- 2018 was Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom
- 2019 is Free Speech, Free Press, and a Free Society
If you watch any television or movies, you have heard the Miranda warnings thousands of times. They are so well-known that arrestees in other countries (where they are irrelevant – it’s a purely U.S. thing), often ask the police why they are not being read their rights.
The Miranda warning refers to a Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona (1966). Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested and tried for armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape of a mentally handicapped woman. During his arrest and trial, he was not informed of his Fifth Amendment right not to have to incriminate himself. The Court ruled that the conviction was invalid, as a result. (He was later retried and convicted.)
- Can you say the whole Miranda Warning from memory?
- Do you think it is right for criminals to be released, just because the police failed to inform him of his rights? Or is it more important to safeguard the civil rights of everyone, even if a few criminals are let go?
- What does it mean that foreigners expect the same rights as Americans when interacting with the police? Do you think it says more about our legal system? Or the dominance of American culture?
26, April 2018, Miranda Warning [Digital image]. Retrieved from <google.com>.