This Day in American History — June 13, 1966

“You have the right to remain silent. . . . ”  On this day 44 years ago, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, requiring law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their constitutional right against self-incrimination, as well as their right to legal representation before answering questions. The ruling came as a result of the conviction of Ernesto Miranda, who had signed a confession in which he admitted to the kidnapping and rape of a teenage girl in 1963.  Miranda’s lawyer argued at trial that his client’s confession should be inadmissible, as he was not informed of his right to remain silent and to have legal representation prior to questioning; that argument was overruled, and Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years on each charge.  The Arizona Supreme Court rejected Miranda’s appeal in 1965, and his conviction stood.

Until June 13, 1966. Chief Justice Earl Warren was joined by Associate Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Abe Fortas, and William Brennan in overturning the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling; in dissent were Associate Justices John Marshall Harlan, Potter Stewart, Byron White, and Tom Clark. The Miranda ruling is probably one of the best known Supreme Court rulings of the twentieth century, thanks mostly to the bevy of cop shows that have aired since the 1960s.

“. . . and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

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