Law Dictionary

Miranda v. Arizona

U.S. Case Law
  1. 384 U.S. 436 (1966), specified a code of conduct for police interrogations of criminal suspects held in custody. Known as the Miranda warnings, these guidelines include informing arrested persons prior to questioning that they have the right to remain silent, that anything they say may be used against them, and that they have the right to the counsel of an attorney. Ernesto Miranda had been convicted on serious charges after having signed a confession without first being told his rights. The Court held that the prosecution could not use his statements unless the police had complied with several procedural safeguards to guarantee his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The 5–4 Miranda decision shocked the law enforcement community and was hotly debated. Several later decisions by a more conservative court served to limit the scope of the Miranda safeguards.


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