Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

In 1966, the Supreme Court issued a decision that created a set of rights known as "Miranda rights." According to the opinion, a person being arrested and held in police custody must be informed that he or she has a right to representation by an attorney and a right to avoid self-incrimination. Read the full text here.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. jurisprudence
    the branch of philosophy concerned with the law
    The cases before us raise questions which go to the roots of our concepts of American criminal jurisprudence: the restraints society must observe consistent with the Federal Constitution in prosecuting individuals for crime.
  2. interrogation
    formal systematic questioning
    More specifically, we deal with the admissibility of statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation and the necessity for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.
  3. accord
    allow to have
    More specifically, we deal with the admissibility of statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation and the necessity for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.
  4. privilege
    a right reserved exclusively by a person or group
    More specifically, we deal with the admissibility of statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation and the necessity for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.
  5. incriminate
    suggest that someone is guilty
    More specifically, we deal with the admissibility of statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation and the necessity for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.
  6. arbitrary
    based on or subject to individual discretion or preference
    The maxim nemo tenetur seipsum accusare had its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial and manifestly unjust methods of interrogating accused persons, which [have] long obtained in the continental system, and, until the expulsion of the Stuarts from the British throne in 1688 and the erection of additional barriers for the protection of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power, [were] not uncommon even in England.
  7. unduly
    to an unnecessary degree
    While the admissions or confessions of the prisoner, when voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the scale of incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which the questions put to him may assume an inquisitorial character, the temptation to press the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or reluctant...
  8. browbeat
    discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner
    While the admissions or confessions of the prisoner, when voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the scale of incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which the questions put to him may assume an inquisitorial character, the temptation to press the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or reluctant...
  9. overzealous
    marked by excessive enthusiasm for a cause or idea
    This was the spirit in which we delineated, in meaningful language, the manner in which the constitutional rights of the individual could be enforced against overzealous police practices.
  10. exculpatory
    clearing of guilt or blame
    Our holding will be spelled out with some specificity in the pages which follow, but, briefly stated, it is this: the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.
  11. waive
    do without or cease to hold or adhere to
    The defendant may waive effectuation of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently.
  12. salient
    conspicuous, prominent, or important
    They all thus share salient features—incommunicado interrogation of individuals in a police-dominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statements without full warnings of constitutional rights.
  13. incommunicado
    without means, right, or desire to be in contact with others
    They all thus share salient features— incommunicado interrogation of individuals in a police-dominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statements without full warnings of constitutional rights.
    "Incommunicado interrogation" means that a defendant does not have access to legal counsel while he or she is being questioned.
  14. coercion
    the act of compelling by force of authority
    Since Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, this Court has recognized that coercion can be mental as well as physical, and that the blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition.
  15. hallmark
    a distinctive characteristic or attribute
    Since Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, this Court has recognized that coercion can be mental as well as physical, and that the blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition.
  16. recalcitrant
    stubbornly resistant to authority or control
    In his own home, he may be confident, indignant, or recalcitrant.
  17. indiscretion
    the trait of lacking good judgment or tact
    He is more keenly aware of his rights and more reluctant to tell of his indiscretions or criminal behavior within the walls of his home.
  18. surcease
    a stopping
    He must interrogate steadily and without relent, leaving the subject no prospect of surcease.
  19. inexorable
    not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty
    He must dominate his subject and overwhelm him with his inexorable will to obtain the truth.
  20. duress
    compulsory force or threat
    He should interrogate for a spell of several hours, pausing only for the subject's necessities in acknowledgment of the need to avoid a charge of duress that can be technically substantiated.
  21. respite
    a relief from harm or discomfort
    In a serious case, the interrogation may continue for days, with the required intervals for food and sleep, but with no respite from the atmosphere of domination.
  22. circumstantial
    suggesting that something is true without proving it
    Having then obtained the admission of shooting, the interrogator is advised to refer to circumstantial evidence which negates the self-defense explanation.
  23. demur
    politely refuse or take exception to
    Jeff may stand by quietly and demur at some of Mutt's tactics.
  24. importune
    beg persistently and urgently
    The defendant in Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528 (1963), was a woman who confessed to the arresting officer after being importuned to "cooperate" in order to prevent her children from being taken by relief authorities.
  25. compulsion
    using force to cause something to occur
    The potentiality for compulsion is forcefully apparent, for example, in Miranda, where the indigent Mexican defendant was a seriously disturbed individual...and in Stewart, in which the defendant was an indigent Los Angeles Negro who had dropped out of school in the sixth grade.
  26. indigent
    poor enough to need help from others
    The potentiality for compulsion is forcefully apparent, for example, in Miranda, where the indigent Mexican defendant was a seriously disturbed individual...and in Stewart, in which the defendant was an indigent Los Angeles Negro who had dropped out of school in the sixth grade.
  27. evince
    give expression to
    To be sure, the records do not evince overt physical coercion or patent psychological ploys.
  28. patent
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    To be sure, the records do not evince overt physical coercion or patent psychological ploys.
  29. subjugate
    make subservient; force to submit or subdue
    It is obvious that such an interrogation environment is created for no purpose other than to subjugate the individual to the will of his examiner.
  30. declaim
    speak against in an impassioned manner
    He resisted the oath and declaimed the proceedings, stating:
    Another fundamental right I then contended for was that no man's conscience ought to be racked by oaths imposed to answer to questions concerning himself in matters criminal, or pretended to be so.
  31. mainstay
    a central cohesive source of support and stability
    We have recently noted that the privilege against self-incrimination—the essential mainstay of our adversary system—is founded on a complex of values, Murphy v. Waterfront Comm'n, 378 U.S. 52, 55-57, n. 5 (1964); Tehan v. Shott, 382 U.S. 406, 414-415, n. 12 (1966).
  32. expedient
    a means to an end
    ...our accusatory system of criminal justice demands that the government seeking to punish an individual produce the evidence against him by its own independent labors, rather than by the cruel, simple expedient of compelling it from his own mouth.
  33. unfettered
    not bound or restrained, as by shackles and chains
    In sum, the privilege is fulfilled only when the person is guaranteed the right "to remain silent unless he chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own will."
  34. engender
    call forth
    ...it must be sufficient to establish that the making of the statement was voluntary; that is to say, that from the causes, which the law treats as legally sufficient to engender in the mind of the accused hope or fear in respect to the crime charged, the accused was not involuntarily impelled to make a statement, when, but for the improper influences, he would have remained silent...
  35. apprise
    inform somebody of something
    The abdication of the constitutional privilege—the choice on his part to speak to the police—was not made knowingly or competently because of the failure to apprise him of his rights; the compelling atmosphere of the in-custody interrogation, and not an independent decision on his part, caused the defendant to speak.
  36. explicate
    elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses
    It was in this manner that Escobedo explicated another facet of the pretrial privilege, noted in many of the Court's prior decisions: the protection of rights at trial.
  37. prerequisite
    something that is needed or obligatory in advance
    More important, such a warning is an absolute prerequisite in overcoming the inherent pressures of the interrogation atmosphere.
  38. imprecation
    a slanderous accusation
    It is not just the subnormal or woefully ignorant who succumb to an interrogator's imprecations, whether implied or expressly stated, that the interrogation will continue until a confession is obtained or that silence in the face of accusation is itself damning, and will bode ill when presented to a jury.
  39. delineate
    determine the essential quality of
    Therefore, the right to have counsel present at the interrogation is indispensable to the protection of the Fifth Amendment privilege under the system we delineate today.
  40. admonition
    cautionary advice about something imminent
    Without this additional warning, the admonition of the right to consult with counsel would often be understood as meaning only that he can consult with a lawyer if he has one or has the funds to obtain one.
  41. scrupulously
    with extreme conscientiousness
    Procedural safeguards must be employed to protect the privilege, and unless other fully effective means are adopted to notify the person of his right of silence and to assure that the exercise of the right will be scrupulously honored, the following measures are required.
  42. redound
    contribute
    It is also urged that an unfettered right to detention for interrogation should be allowed because it will often redound to the benefit of the person questioned.
  43. proscribe
    command against
    Denial of the right to consult counsel during interrogation has also been proscribed by military tribunals.
  44. tribunal
    an assembly to conduct judicial business
    Denial of the right to consult counsel during interrogation has also been proscribed by military tribunals.
  45. abrogate
    revoke formally
    Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rulemaking or legislation which would abrogate them.
Created on September 10, 2019 (updated September 11, 2019)

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