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


from Chapter 4

The Miranda Warnings

Excerpts from pages 83-85

The Miranda doctrine came down in installments. The first, the June 13, 1966, sixty-plus page opinion, contained the police procedures that are now known as the Miranda warnings.  The second installment, handed down a week later in the Johnson case, created arbitrary deadlines for the application of the Miranda doctrine.

The Miranda warning itself, as stipulated in the first installment, must include all of four separate warnings: (1) The suspect must be warned prior to questioning that he has the right to remain silent; (2) He must be warned that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law; (3) He has the right to the presence of an attorney; and (4) If he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires.

In judicial circles, warnings are euphemistically called admonitions. What, then, was the Warren Court’s intention in crafting these four particular admonitions? Were all four considered of equal importance? Is the order of their presentation meaningful?

And then there is the question of whether or not this set of four explicit warnings is constitutional. Many constitutional scholars worried about the exact constitutional predicate for holding that the police must give these four explicit warnings to suspects. Justice Black, the senior member of the Miranda majority, was famous for carrying around a frayed vest-pocket-sized copy of the Constitution, produced by the U.S. Printing Office. At the slightest provocation during an oral argument, he would reach for his little dog-eared book, wave it toward the advocate’s podium, and ask, “Where exactly in the Constitution does it say that?

For constitutional scholars, at least, the answer begins with marking the boundaries of due process. Even the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment contains no description of limits, and over the last two hundred years, the Supreme Court has repeatedly attempted to articulate the general procedural guidelines to which those governing as well as those governed should adhere. In a “settled usages and modes of proceeding” case in 1921, for example, the Court said, “[a] process of law is due process within the meaning of constitutional limitations if it can show the sanction of settled usage both in this country and in England.” Judge Cardozo said, “Not lightly to be vacated is the verdict of quiescent years.” After his transition from the New York Court of Appeals to the United States Supreme Court, Justice Cardozo expanded his subtle view of the matter by saying, “We do not find it profitable to mark the precise limits of [due process].”


Miranda: The Story of America's Right to Remain Silent
Copyright © 2004, Gary L. Stuart. All rights reserved.
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page last revised: 10/25/04