I said in my recent noise.cash post that I will start writing more about the basic Philippine Constitution Rights, hopefully in Tagalog but for today I’m writing about the Miranda Warning which is a doctrine applied worldwide.
AN IMPORTANT DOCTRINE THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW.
I will write this in English for all audiences, but I will elaborate it in Tagalog as well for my Filipino friends who wants to know more about this doctrine but are having a hard time understanding it in English. I will try my best to translate.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say 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 provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Does this ring a bell?
I know at one point in your life, you’ve already heard of this phrase. Mainly when someone was brought for questioning, hopefully in the films only and not when you’re actually being questioned for something. It has become a cliche for many of us. I remember memorizing this and saying it together with the actors/actresses when I’m watching an action film because I feel so bad ass.
I really thought that this was just a cinematic thing that actors or even police chant when they’re questioning someone but it has a very deep story behind it and how it got its name...
The Miranda Rights
In 1963, the case of Miranda v. Arizona (384 US 436) became one of the most controversial cases. It even became a worldwide doctrine because of the decision made in this case, a ruling that disrupts a lot of the justice system not only in Arizona, but globally.
In Arizona, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and raping a girl. He was bought into a police station because he was one suspect that could be linked to the crime. The victim identified him so he was interrogated.
As most of us would do, he denied the crime at first saying he wasn’t involved in anything. A series of questioning was put into place and probably because of the pressure, he confessed guilty of the crime. Some strongly believed and argued that he was pressured to confess, they made him write his confession and he signed it.
Of course, the victim used the written statement against him which is why he was rendered guilty. But the policemen, before questioning and interrogation, did not state his rights but what are his rights?
Most commonly known as “the 5th'' and people would always say “I’m invoking the 5th” or the most famous “I invoke my right against self-incrimination”.
No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
This just basically says that when you are or will be interrogated, hopefully not, you are not required to answer the questions and you have the right to have an attorney to accompany you and guide during the interrogation. If you can’t pay for it, the state will provide or appoint you one, here in the Philippines it’s called PAO (Public Attorney’s Office) Lawyers.
He later on appealed to the Supreme Court twice and on the second one, he won the case. It was a tough call but the Supreme Court was weighing and trying to balance out the public safety and rights of the accused which is most of the time ignored.
But even though it was ruled in favor of him, a witness appeared and testified that he was the one who actually did it. He was found guilty, which is what the scenario in the beginning was, but this time it has undergone the due process of law. He was sentenced for another 3 years because of this.
Now the question is not whether you did it or not because it was clear that he did it but everyone should go under the due process of law and your rights doesn’t vanish just because you did something.
This can have repercussions but the Justice Systems are not that great to be fully trusted on, that is why you should have a basic knowledge of your rights.
This has been an interesting topic for me and I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in writing this as well. Hopefully we get to learn more of our rights in my future articles.
See you around!
Lead image: Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
I plead the fifth!!!
Meron tayo pala nun? I thought it only works sa ibang bansa. Thank you for this deedum!