A recent story popped up on Yahoo! this morning:
Miranda Rights Warning Facing ReWrite (Courtesy of Yahoo! News)
The story in a nutshell explains how, apparently, the Miranda Rights that are read to people as they are being arrested is too complicated….or not complicated enough for people to fully understand their rights. Really??? Let’s take a look at the standard Miranda Rights text:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?“
Of course, this is just one version, but the basic premise is the same throughout save for maybe a few changes in the wording. In some regions there may also be references to contacting your nations embassy if you are not a U.S. citizen, but again, the three main statements remain relatively constant.
- You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions.
- You have the right to an attorney/legal council. Regardless of if you can afford one, one will be appointed to you.
- Do you understand what has been read to you?
Nothing too difficult there. Oh, but wait, I’m not a moron. Apparently it’s confusing enough people that it needs to be more specific. I’ll point out that the police are only required to warn an individual whom they intend to subject to custodial interrogation at the police station, in a police vehicle, or when detained. Arrests can occur without questioning and without the Miranda warning—although if the police do change their mind and decide to interrogate the suspect, the warning must then be given. However, due to the flood of police shows and movies most people think they have to read your rights the moment they pull you over.
The article just overflows with people needing a good slap across the face. The story tells a tale of one Kevin Dwayne Powell who confessed to purchasing a firearm off the street. Prior to that confession he signed a Miranda statement that included the statements “You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of our questions. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed for you without cost and before any questioning. You have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during this interview.”
Powell’s conviction was overturned on the grounds that the police didn’t adequately explainexplain to Powell that he was allowed to have a lawyer with him during questioning. Wha???? What part of “you have the right to use any of these rights at any time” was confusing?!?!
Of course the D.A. argued that there was enough warning/explination given, but Justice Stephen Breyer didn’t think so. I assume he made the following statement while eating paint chips:
“Aren’t you supposed to tell this person, that unlike a grand jury, you have a right to have the lawyer with you during interrogation? I mean, it isn’t as if that was said in passing in Miranda. They wrote eight paragraphs about it. And I just wonder, where does it say in this warning, you have the right to have the lawyer with you during the interrogation?”
So I have to wonder, are they now expecting the Police to read off eight paragraphs of Miranda to suspects? Keep in mind that’s JUST for the “You have to right to an attorney” portion. That’s rediculous. And what’s to think that 10 minutes of rambling lawyer speak is going to be any more understood by morons like this guy….or that the police would even be able to finish the statements considering how beligerant and uncooperative most people can be?
Unfortunately, this has apparently been an issue for some time, and will likely continue to be as long as their are stupid people committing crimes and lawyers greedy enough to take these types of cases.
Seriously, how long are we going to hold people’s hands through life? When do people start taking responsibility for their actions? When do we stop giving all these criminals loopholes to jump through? Does anyone seriously think this dipshit didn’t understand his rights? What are the chances he just doesn’t want to go to jail and is looking for any BS reason? Well, it apparently worked since he wasn’t convicted.
Next week I’m sure we’ll get to talk about how Bubba Jackhole didn’t want to pull over for the Police because their overhead lights and sirens didn’t properly convey where and when to pull over. Which, incidentally, is why I’m in favor of the police getting a 60 second window free for all to rough up anyone who runs from the police…..but that’s another article.