When did Miranda Rights Start (History Explained)

blogs, news -

When did Miranda Rights Start (History Explained)

home > blog articles > when did miranda rights start (history explained)


Brian Humenuk | Author | COPJOT Police Notebooks and Pens


Updated on July 20, 2022
4 minute read


Miranda Rights are just as important in shaping the American criminal justice system as any court ruling in the 19th century. 

The Miranda case from 1963 is now nearing 60 years old. Before this date in history, police officers who were representatives of police departments nationwide were able to ask suspects self-incriminating questions without any warning that their answers could be used against them in court hearings. 

Before the landmark supreme court case, citizens in police custody or persons arrested had a fifth amendment right to remain silent and not answer any questions. 

The case itself shows Americans a little glimpse into how the Founding Fathers structured the US Constitution and how they wanted to protect the rights of citizens even some 200 years after it was signed. 

Let's get into understanding Miranda Rights in 5 minutes

What are your Miranda Warnings?

The following warnings have been determined by the courts to be provided by law enforcement officers to suspects.

  • They have the right to remain silent;
  • Anything the suspect does say can and may be used against them in a court of law;
  • They have the right to have an attorney present before and during the questioning; and
  • They have the right if they cannot afford the services of an attorney, to have one appointed, at public expense and without cost to them, to represent them before and during the questioning
  • The Miranda Warning must be given meaningfully. Suspects will be asked if they understand their rights.
  • Miranda Rights should be given in the suspect's language.

If police obtained a valid waiver or in other words, the suspect intelligently waived his or her rights to remain silent or right to an attorney then the police can continue with questioning. 

Are Miranda Rights and Miranda Warnings the same?

Miranda Rights are the rights that you as an individual citizen have according to the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Miranda Warnings are what a police officer gives to you verbally and in many circumstances written. They are warnings that you are about to be asked questions and depending on how you answer them may incriminate you. 

The Miranda Warnings are given to you so that you may know your rights.

How did Miranda Rights originate or come to be?

According to (mirandawarning.org) before 1963 intimidating or coercive methods of police interrogation were commonly referred to as undergoing the ‘third degree’ which was a tactic to gain a suspect who was in police custody or a person arrested to confess to a crime or even incriminate others. Back then it had to be a suspect's own understanding and knowledge that he or she had a right to have an attorney present while being questioned or interrogated. Today, as protection against any possibility of police intimidation, we have the Miranda Warning.

The Miranda case from 1963 is now nearing 60 years old. Before this date in history, police officers who were representatives of police departments nationwide were able to ask suspects self-incriminating questions without any warning that their answers could be used against them in court hearings.

Most individuals were not aware that they had a constitutional right to remain silent which gave law enforcement officials free rein. Incriminating statements would give the police more evidence obtained in the case.

Whether or not the history and the case itself is taught in current-day police academies I do not know the answer to that. I do know however, it can be very important for a police officer to understand how Miranda Warnings became law, why they are given, and when they should be given.

First, let’s talk about the landmark case out of Arizona that set it all into motion. Here’s the history of the case.

The Crime

The crime in question occurred in March 1963 when an 18-year-old girl was forcibly grabbed by a man as she was walking home from her bus stop after working late at a movie house in Phoenix, Arizona. The attacker dragged her into his car, tied her hands behind her back, and forced her to lie down in the back seat.

After driving for 20 minutes, the man stopped outside of the city and raped her. He demanded she give him her money and told her to lie down again in the back seat.

He then drove her back into the city, dropping her off blocks from her house.

Police Catch a Lead

Days after reporting the incident to the Phoenix Police, the 18-year-old and her cousin noticed a car driving slowly near the same bus stop and reported the suspicious car’s partial license plate to the police. Police tracked the sedan to 29-year-old Twila Hoffman who was living in nearby Mesa, Arizona.

Hoffman had a live-in boyfriend by the name of Ernesto Miranda. When police showed up at the girlfriend’s door, Miranda spoke to them and agreed to go to the station and appear in a line-up. Ernesto Miranda was a 24-year-old high school drop-out with a police record when he was accused in 1963 of kidnapping, raping, and robbing an 18-year-old woman.

The victim was unable to make an immediate identification from the four-man line-up at the police station but Miranda was led to believe otherwise. When Miranda asked afterward, “How did I do?,” he was told by Captain Carroll Cooley, “Not too good, Ernie.”

What are Miranda Rights | Ernesto Miranda | COPJOT

The Confession

Miranda was then questioned for two hours without a lawyer. At one point, the detectives brought the victim into the room. One of them asked Miranda if this was the person he had raped. Miranda looked at her and said, “That’s the girl.”

Miranda eventually offered details of the crimes that closely matched the victim’s account. He agreed to formalize his confession in a written statement, which he wrote out under the words, “This confession was made with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me.”

His confession was used as sole evidence when he was tried and convicted for the crimes by an Arizona court. Miranda’s lawyer, Alvin Moore, appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court six months later, posing the questions:

“Was [Miranda’s] statement made voluntarily?” and “Was [he] afforded all the safeguards to his rights provided by the Constitution of the United States and the law and rules of the courts?”

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in April 1965 that Miranda’s confession was legitimate and that he had been aware of his rights.

ACLU Gets Involved

Miranda’s case, however, caught the eye of an attorney with the Phoenix chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Robert Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran reached out to prominent Arizona trial lawyer John J. Flynn, who took over the case and recruited his colleague and expert in constitutional law, John P. Frank, to assist in an appeal to the highest United States Court.

In his brief on behalf of Miranda, Frank wrote, “The day is here to recognize the full meaning of the Sixth Amendment.”

The Sixth Amendment guarantees the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to a lawyer. Also at play was the Fifth Amendment, which protects defendants from being compelled to become witnesses against themselves.

Even though Miranda had written his confession under a statement saying that he was fully aware of his legal rights, his lawyers argued those rights had not been made explicitly clear to him. Under the duress of detainment, they argued, his confession should not be deemed admissible.


Why are they called Miranda Rights?

The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, agreed. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court reversed the Arizona decision and declared that Miranda’s confession could not be used as evidence in a criminal trial.

Warren’s 60-plus-page written opinion, released on June 13, 1966, further outlined police procedure to ensure that defendants are clearly informed of their rights as they are being detained and interrogated or in another way put "custodial interrogation."

The Miranda Rule during police questioning would include the right to remain silent, anything said could be used against the suspect, the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. 

Retrial and Conviction of Ernesto Miranda

Miranda’s case was remanded in 1967 for re-trial, with the confession excluded from evidence. While his court battle changed the course of U.S. criminal procedure, Miranda’s fate would not be so altered.

In his retrial, his ex-girlfriend, Twila Hoffman, testified against him, revealing that he had told her about his crimes while he was in prison. In October 1967, Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.

Ernesto Miranda Death

In October 1967, Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. Miranda was paroled by December 1975, but just over a month later, on January 31, 1976, Ernesto Miranda was later stabbed to death in the men's room of a Phoenix bar after a poker game in January 1976

Ernesto Miranda was just 34 years old and had died of multiple stab wounds. 

Law Enforcement Officials would detain two acquaintances who were with Miranda that night for questioning. Before asking each about the evening, officers recited the Miranda warning (in Spanish). Both men were released after questioning.

Later, witness accounts would narrow the investigation to one of the men. But by that time, the main suspect had fled and was never apprehended. No charges were ever filed for Miranda’s murder.

Miranda Violation

If you have never been the arresting officer when a defendant's confession is the subject of a motion to suppress, well, that is when you go to court and testify that although you have all the makings of a great arrest the defendant's case will be dismissed due to his or her confession being thrown out for lack of Miranda and or an intelligent response to it by the defendant.

There can be several violations argued against law enforcement officers who fail to provide warnings that the fifth amendment guarantees such as a clearly invoked right to remain silent ignored or the request for an attorney to be present not granted while police continue to ask and the suspect continues to answer questions. 

When it comes to juveniles they too have rights per Miranda and you can read more about the Miranda rules regarding Juveniles here. 

If the police are found to have violated a person's Miranda Rights then evidence obtained during the confession can be thrown out and any other evidence obtained found due to the confession can also be tossed. 

COPJOT Makes Miranda Warnings easy to recite 

When you purchase one of COPJOT’s All Weather Police Notepads it comes standard with Miranda Rights on the backside of the front cover. This is placed in a convenient location so that while writing your notes you can very easily read a suspect his or her Miranda Rights.

If the case goes to court and the confession comes up in question or in a motion to suppress you can easily testify that you read all suspects their Miranda Rights from the same place which is your All Weather Police Notepad that you purchased from COPJOT.com.

About the Author

Brian Humenuk isn't just an entrepreneur in eCommerce, he is also an informed leader whose experience provides followers and visitors with a look into current and past police issues making headlines in the United States.

Brian has earned three degrees in Criminal Justice with the last, a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.

Brian extends his training, education, and experience to the officers just now getting into the field so that they may become more informed police officers and stay clear of police misconduct and corruption. 

You can find out more about Brian and the COPJOT story on the ABOUT US page.

More Information

Are you a Police Officer, Sheriff or State Trooper, Law Enforcement family member or friend check out our Custom Police Notebooks and Metal Police Uniform Pens here on our main website.

Our Police related blog articles are not the only thing we do. We manufacture, customize and personalize Custom Police Notebooks and Notepads for Police Officers and law enforcement agencies worldwide. 

Related Articles

Best Tips for Writing Police Reports 

Police Court Testimony – What might you face in the eyes of justice

Police Officer Truthfulness and the Brady Decision