One aim of the Louisiana criminal justice system is to adjudicate matters in a fair and impartial manner for those charged with crimes. At the time of a suspect’s arrest, he has a legal right to refrain from answering the officer’s line of questions. This right protects him from potentially incriminating himself.
What are Miranda Rights?
Miranda Rights are those afforded to someone who is being arrested. These rights are often stated by the arresting officer and emanate from the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. They include:
- the right to remain silent
- the right to have an attorney whether he can afford one or not
- the right to have an attorney present when questioned
The Miranda warning was codified after a case in Arizona went all the way to the Supreme Court. In Miranda v. Arizona, Eduardo Miranda was convicted of several violent acts and ultimately spent time in prison. His criminal defense team continued to appeal his conviction based on technicalities. It was upheld several times until it reached the Supreme Court. At that point, his conviction was overturned due to violations of his Constitutional rights to remain silent so as not to incriminate himself. He contended that he was not made aware of his rights in this capacity when initially questioned by police. Thus, the Supreme Court ruled that his previous confessions to the crimes were inadmissible as evidence.
The suspect cannot regain these rights
There are times when a suspect is arrested but may not have the right to remain silent. If he answers law enforcements’ questions prior to his arrest, he may later find himself in a quandary. By initially cooperating with police, he relinquished the rights under the Miranda warning and is not afforded its protections. The Supreme Court decision in Raffel v. U.S. mandates that the suspect continue to cooperate with police until a decision in the case is rendered by a judge.