Thesis: Miranda vs. Arizona can be regarded as a landmark case because it led to changing the laws which existed in the state; the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution can be applied to this case, as well as the Bill of Rights which, due to this case, gives the criminals the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent.
Ernesto Arturo Miranda, born in Arizona in 1941, was arrested in March 1963 for robbery. Later, he confessed in raping an 18-year-old woman two days prior to committing a robbery. His conviction on rape charges which were based purely on his confession in this crime during the police interrogation “resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case (Miranda v. Arizona) which ruled that a police officer upon arresting a person must read him his rights to counsel and to remain silent” (Icon Group International, Inc., 2008). Miranda’s case was “the most controversial that the Court had ever decided” (Leo & Thomas, 1998).
In general, a landmark case is an unprecedented law case that changes the existing interpretation of legal rules or principles (Stanieri & Zeleznikow, 2005). Miranda vs. Arizona can be regarded as a landmark case because it led to changing the laws which existed in the state; the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution can be applied to this case, as well as the Bill of Rights which, due to this case, gives the criminals the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent.
To begin with, the Fifth Amendment applies to this case because Miranda was unaware about self-incrimination. According to Fifth Amendment, no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” (Minor, 2005). Miranda happened to become a witness against himself during the coercive police interrogation, and even the police officers who interrogated him admitted that “neither before nor during the questioning had Miranda been advised of his rights to consult with an attorney or his right to have an attorney present during the interrogation” (Hall, 2001). This is why Miranda could refer to the Fifth Amendment during the court procedure, which has been successfully done by his attorney.
Moreover, in Miranda’s case, Fifth and Sixth Amendments are coextensive. The protections of these amendments are concerned with arrest and interrogation. While the Fifth Amendment gives a detainee the right to an attorney and the right to keep silence, the Sixth Amendment “gives individuals the right to be informed of the nature and type of crimes for which they are accused” (May, Minor, Ruddell, & Matthews, 2007). This was the right which Miranda was also denied in. This means that “Miranda not only incorporated both Fifth and Sixth Amendment protections, but also required the police to inform those in custody of these rights” (Rosenberg, 2008).
Finally, due to this case, the Bill of Rights ensures appropriate carrying out of legal process and determines legal environment for law enforcement agencies n the U.S. today. On the one hand, Miranda’s participation in enforcing Fifth and Sixth Amendments seems to be beneficial, because it gave the criminals more rights and freedom of choice. However, on the other hand, Miranda’s ruling made it easier for the criminals to avoid the punishment: “In some unknown number of cases the Court’s rule will return a killer, a rapist, or other criminal to the streets and to the environment which produced him, to repeat his crime whenever it pleases him” (Burgan, 2006). Thus, the Bill of Rights makes the legal process fair for criminals and adds extra work to law enforcement agencies officers.
In sum, Miranda vs. Arizona can be considered as a landmark case, because it was unprecedented and because it changed the laws which existed in the country back then. Due to Fifth and Sixth Amendments, Miranda obtained a right to be assigned with an attorney and a right to silence which started to be guaranteed to all the detainees under the Bill of Rights.
Burgan, M. (2006). Miranda V. Arizona: The Rights of the Accused. USA: Compass Point Books.
Hall, K.L. (2001). The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions. USA: Oxford University Press.
Icon Group International, Inc. (2008). Convicting: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. San Diego: ICON Group International, Inc.
Leo, R.A. & Thomas, G.C. (1998). The Miranda Debate: Law, Justice, and Policing. London: UPNE.
May, D.C., Minor, K.I., Ruddell, R., & Matthews, B.A. (2007). Corrections and the Criminal Justice System. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Minor, R.C. (2005). A Republic of Nations: A Study of The Organization of a Federal League of Nations. New York: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
Rosenberg, G.N. (2008). The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Stranieri, A. & Zeleznikow, J. (2005). Knowledge Discovery from Legal Databases. New York: Springer.