Miranda Law: The Right to Remain Silent

By Ron Fridell | Go to book overview
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The Miranda Justices Also Built a Sixth Amendment foundation of cases for their 1966 ruling. These cases included Powell v. Alabama (1932), Betts v. Brady (1942), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), and Escobedo v. Rlinois (1964). Let's look at them now.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an attorney in a criminal trial: [In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to have the Assistance of Counsel [a lawyer] for his defence.]

This Sixth Amendment right to counsel has a special purpose. It is meant to help equalize the unequal contest between the defendant and the State. Think about this: Ernesto Miranda, a solitary individual, versus Arizona, the vast legal machinery of an entire state. Criminal lawyers' offices are lined with row upon row of law books. How could a defendant in a criminal case possibly understand those thousands upon thousands of pages of legal rules and regulations well enough to successfully defend himself in a court of law?

In all federal courts, criminal defendants were already protected by the Sixth Amendment before the Miranda case. If they could not afford to hire a lawyer, the federal government would appoint one for them.

But they were not protected in all state courts. Each


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Miranda Law: The Right to Remain Silent


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