Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stupid Miranda Rules

Miranda v. Arizona excludes evidence of anything you say, while under arrest, until after the officers tell you that you have the right to remain silent. Doyle v. Ohio, to make this a real right, disallows prosecutors from commenting on the silence of a defendant who has been read his rights. But Jenkins v. Anderson, on the other hand, allows prosecutors to comment on a defendant’s pre-arrest silence when he has not been read his rights. And Weir v. Fletcher says that they can comment on your silence even after arrest, but before the warnings are given. So, before they read you your rights, you don’t have the right to remain silent, but you have the right to say anything you want (although it can be used to impeach you at trial). After they read you your rights, you have the right to remain silent, but anything you do say can be used against you.

Why does your right depend on whether they told you about it?
Why are the rights reversed (and ill-protected) upon receiving warnings?
Doesn’t this put people who know their rights at a disadvantage?

This stupid mosaic of law is brought to you by the politicians in cheap robes, and the number 9.


  1. it sounds to me as if the laws are geared to help the police & prosecuters more then the citizens.
    But, most people think that if you are in the position to be arrested then to bad for you, anyway.
    When A law is, like you say, 'mosaic', I suppose we need lawyers to sort it out for us. Find the loopholes.
    I have learned to be very wary of the police (because of my childrens dealing with them) & this is a helpful thing to know.

  2. You're right, it looks half-assed, and it's a free handout to the guilty.

    But if you contextualize Miranda with a sizable bit of history, then you have the opportunity to thank all the crooked cops, prosecutors, judges et al from the days of yore, without whom, we wouldn't need these draconian rules. Unfortunately, history has taught us that if you don't have "deal-killer" type rules, the temptation to break them will be too overwhelming for many who are supposed to be on the "right" side of the law.