Foreword By Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
Table of Contents
  Miranda's Confession
  Right to Counsel
  Privilege Against Self-Incrimination
  Miranda and the Arizona Supreme Court
  Birth of the Miranda Warnings
  John Frank as Architect of the Miranda Doctrine
  John Flynn's Oral  Argument at the Supreme Court
  Gary Nelson's Oral Argument for Arizona
  Thurgood Marshall's Oral  Argument at the Supreme Court
  The Opinion
  The Miranda Warnings
  The Ongoing Debate
  The Dickerson Case
  Miranda's Global Reach

Miranda and the al Qaeda Terror

  Padilla and Hamdi
  False Confessions and the Tuscson Four
  Political Ideology and the Supreme Court
  Dickerson's Legacy
  Gideon's Legacy
  The Evolution of Miranda


Thomas Jefferson believed that the Bill of Rights in total puts into the hands of the judiciary a check against any tyranny committed by the legislative or executive branches of the government.

from Chapter 2

The American Right To Counsel

Excerpt from page 29

The combination of federalism within the court system, the right to counsel, and the culture of the Deep South made the 1932 case of Powell v. Alabama pivotal in the story of America’s right to remain silent. This case involved two African-American men charged - in a state court - with raping two white women. The ethnicity of both the accused and the victims is relevant because men and women of color were treated differently in the criminal justice system in some states during the thirties.

The men were accused of attacking the two women on a train passing through Alabama. When the train arrived in Scottsboro, Alabama, the women identified the two men. The men were arrested, charged, tried by the State of Alabama, and found guilty within a matter of days. The proceedings “from beginning to end, took place in an atmosphere of tense, hostile, and excited public sentiment.” Also the defendants were acknowledged both “ignorant and illiterate.” Both men appealed and, eventually, the case reached the United States Supreme Court, where the issue of federalism was central to the Court’s decision.

The 1932 reversal of the convictions in Powell comes as close to a short-tempered opinion as has ever been handed down:

To be kind, the record also suggested that the right to counsel for a black man accused of raping a white woman was a matter of humor, not law, in Scottsboro, Alabama, in the thirties. . .   It is hardly necessary to say that, the right to counsel being conceded, a defendant should be afforded a fair opportunity to secure counsel of his choice. Not only was that not done here, but such designation of counsel as was attempted was either so indefinite or so close upon the trial as to amount to a denial of effective and substantial aid in that regard.

In reaching its historic decision, the Court said, “Under the circumstances disclosed, we hold that the defendants were not accorded the right of counsel in any substantial sense. . . . The prompt disposition of criminal cases is to be commended and encouraged. But in reaching that result a defendant, charged with a serious crime, must not be stripped of his right to have sufficient time to advise with counsel and prepare his defense.”


Miranda: The Story of America's Right to Remain Silent
Copyright © 2004, Gary L. Stuart. All rights reserved.
Available at Alibris,, Barnes and Noble, and your local bookseller
page last revised: 10/25/04