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Effects of Miranda v. Arizona: "Embedded" in Our National Culture? (From Crime and Justice: A Review of Research Volume 29, P 203-271, 2002, Michael Tonry, ed., -- See NCJ-198375)

NCJ Number
George C. Thomas III; Richard A. Leo
Date Published
69 pages
This chapter discusses the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona on the rates of confession, costs to the American criminal justice system, ability of the police to elicit confessions, and ability of prosecutors to win convictions.
The chapter begins with a review of the history of the Supreme Court decision, made in 1966, in Miranda v. Arizona, including a discussion of some doctrinal puzzles involved. Topics of discussion include the Miranda impact studies; second generation studies from 1996 to the present; Miranda in action, police, suspects, prosecutors; and the timing of the Miranda challenge. The reading of the constitutionally guaranteed Miranda Rights to suspects, prior to custodial interrogation by police, guarantees suspects the right to remain silent and to court-appointed counsel, has turned out to have little effect on the ability of the police to elicit confessions and the ability of prosecutors to win convictions. There is no real evidence that Miranda has substantially reduced confession rates or imposed significant costs on the criminal justice system. It is also noted that the practical benefits to custodial suspects may be minimal as police have developed strategies to avoid, circumvent, nullify, or simply violate Miranda Rights. In conclusion, it is noted that the Supreme Court views the Miranda warnings as a matter of basic fairness based on the essential fairness of telling a suspect he does not have to convict himself, as the Fifth Amendment privilege guarantees. A list of reference source is included.