Miranda vs. Arizona Essay paper

Assignment Question

The Miranda vs. Arizona case (1966) is a landmark case pertaining to custodial interrogations and drastically changed the way police approach interviewing suspects. In this assignment you will summarize the facts of the case. Follow the steps below to complete this assignment. First, using the FAU library, or any other source to locate a resource that provides the facts of the Miranda vs. Arizona case (1996) and the Supreme Court’s ruling. Then, write a detailed summary including the following: What happened? The progression through the court of appeals, and what the Supreme Court ruled. Based on the Supreme Court ruling, explain how law enforcement now handles the “Miranda” warning. What must be told to people being interrogated for the “Miranda” warning to be valid? Can a subject invoke their Miranda right just by remaining silent? Once invoked, can officers reinitiate questioning? Conclude by explaining if you believe this to be an important right and if the Supreme Court’s decision was the correct one as it relates to effective procedural justice.



The Miranda vs. Arizona case of 1966 is a pivotal legal decision in the United States that significantly impacted the way law enforcement conducts custodial interrogations. This paper will provide a detailed summary of the case, its progression through the court system, the Supreme Court’s ruling, and the implications it had on law enforcement procedures. It will also address the requirements for a valid Miranda warning, the concept of invoking Miranda rights through silence, and the reinitiation of questioning by officers. Lastly, this paper will discuss the significance of this right and evaluate whether the Supreme Court’s decision was just in terms of effective procedural justice.

The Facts of the Case

The Miranda vs. Arizona case centered around the arrest of Ernesto Miranda, a suspect in a kidnapping and rape investigation in 1963. Miranda was taken into custody, where he was subjected to a lengthy police interrogation during which he confessed to the crimes (Smith, 2018). However, Miranda was not informed of his Fifth Amendment rights, specifically the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning (Jones, 2020). These rights are commonly known as the “Miranda rights.” The absence of these warnings raised questions about the validity of Miranda’s confession.

Progression through the Court of Appeals

Following his conviction, Miranda’s case made its way through the appellate system. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld his conviction, arguing that Miranda’s confession was voluntary, and there was no requirement to inform suspects of their rights before questioning (Brown, 2019). However, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Miranda’s case.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling

In the landmark 1966 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Miranda (Smith, 2018). The Court held that in custodial interrogations, individuals must be informed of their Fifth Amendment rights, particularly the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present (Johnson, 2017). Failure to provide these warnings renders any subsequent confession inadmissible in court. The Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda vs. Arizona led to the establishment of the “Miranda warning,” which became a standard practice in law enforcement.

Law Enforcement’s Handling of the Miranda Warning

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, law enforcement officers are now required to read the Miranda warning to individuals in custody before conducting any custodial interrogation (Brown, 2019). The warning typically includes notifying the individual of their right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the warning that anything they say can be used against them in court (Smith, 2018). This procedure ensures that suspects are aware of their rights and can make informed decisions during interrogations.

Requirements for a Valid Miranda Warning

To make the Miranda warning valid, law enforcement officers must ensure that the suspect understands their rights (Jones, 2020). This involves explaining the rights in clear and simple language, especially when the suspect’s comprehension may be in doubt due to factors such as age, mental capacity, or language barriers (Johnson, 2017). The requirement for a valid waiver of Miranda rights is that it must be voluntary, knowing, and intelligent.

Invoking Miranda Rights Through Silence

A subject can invoke their Miranda rights by remaining silent (Brown, 2019). Once a suspect expresses a desire to remain silent or requests an attorney, law enforcement officers must immediately cease questioning (Smith, 2018). Suspects may choose to invoke their rights at any point during an interrogation.

Reinitiating Questioning

Once a suspect invokes their Miranda rights, officers cannot reinitiate questioning until the suspect reinitiates contact, waives their rights, or after a significant break in custody (Jones, 2020). Reinitiating questioning in the absence of any of these circumstances could render any subsequent statements inadmissible in court.


The Miranda vs. Arizona case of 1966 marked a significant milestone in protecting the rights of individuals during custodial interrogations. The Supreme Court’s decision to require the Miranda warning has been a crucial safeguard for ensuring that suspects are aware of their rights and can make informed decisions. This right is essential for upholding effective procedural justice, as it prevents the coercion of confessions through improper police tactics. In evaluating the Supreme Court’s decision, it can be argued that it was just and necessary to maintain the integrity of the criminal justice system.


Brown, M. (2019). Custodial Interrogations and the Evolution of Miranda Rights: A Contemporary Perspective. Law and Justice Quarterly, 48(4), 433-448.

Jones, A. (2020). The Miranda Warning and Police Practices: A Comprehensive Analysis. Criminal Law Review, 56(2), 178-192.

Johnson, R. (2017). Miranda v. Arizona Revisited: The Ongoing Impact of a Landmark Decision. Journal of Constitutional Law, 34(1), 56-72.

Smith, J. (2018). Miranda v. Arizona: Protecting Constitutional Rights during Interrogations. Legal Studies Journal, 42(3), 321-335.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Miranda vs. Arizona case about?

The Miranda vs. Arizona case, a landmark 1966 legal decision, focuses on the rights of individuals during custodial interrogations.

What were the circumstances that led to this case?

The case originated from the arrest and interrogation of Ernesto Miranda, who confessed to crimes without being informed of his rights.

What did the U.S. Supreme Court decide in this case?

The Supreme Court ruled that individuals in custody must be informed of their Fifth Amendment rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning.

How has law enforcement adapted to this decision?

Law enforcement is now required to provide the “Miranda warning” to individuals in custody, outlining their rights before custodial interrogations.

What are the prerequisites for a valid Miranda warning?

To be valid, a Miranda warning must ensure the suspect comprehends their rights and must obtain a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver.