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 9

The Evolution of Miranda

Excerpts from pages 170-173

Suspects will continue to come to the attention of the police and show up, willingly or not, in America’s interrogation rooms. Once there, knowing no better regardless of any warnings, many will incriminate themselves directly into jail, and the privilege against self-incrimination will be trumped by the certainty of self-incarceration. Although most police interrogators are more interested in doing the job than clearing the docket, some will want the confession badly enough to ignore the Supreme Court’s rules about warning suspects. In time, those who make the rules and fund police protection will prevail, and the entire American police force will be comprised of professionals; everyone in the interrogation rooms will be college educated, highly trained, and respectful of America’s right to remain silent.

To what extent that right should be respected when applied to non-Americans, however, is an entirely different question. The devastation wreaked upon New York City and, psychologically, on the rest of the nation on September 11, 2001, understandably created a need for changes in the ways we prosecute foreign criminals such as the al Qaeda terrorists. What we see as a constitutional right for ourselves may have to be withheld from those who would take all rights away by terror and violence rather than by the due process of the democratic system. We would do well to remember, however, that, if in the effort to solve the problems Miranda has posed to law enforcement, we return to the days when law enforcement was silent on the rights of suspects, be they homegrown simple thieves or foreign-trained terrorists, then the hate-America campaign will have obtained one of its objectives. These people seek to destroy democracy itself and replace it with a radically fundamental theocracy run by their God, not their government.

The good news: Technology will provide some solutions. In time, the same kinds of monitoring devices that have modernized courtrooms may become standard equipment in interrogation rooms. Video cameras have already revolutionized many aspects of police surveillance and arrest procedures, providing evidence that can often be more convincing than eyewitness accounts (isolated occurrences such as the Rodney King affair notwithstanding). Some day, video cameras in the interrogation room will provide evidence of similar verisimilitude and serve to monitor the conduct of suspect and interrogator.

Regardless of whether or not improved methods for gathering evidence will serve to condemn or exonerate, people will, through some natural compulsion perhaps, continue to unburden their souls in the misguided belief that confessing to their crimes will set them free of the law just as surely as confessing their sins can clear their consciences. Such confessions, if they comply with the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, will be admissible and will remain a valuable tool for finding the truth, but they will not be the only evidence offered at trial. And unwarned confessions will more easily remain in the prosecutor’s briefcase - unless and until the defendant tries, once again, to talk himself into jail by taking the witness stand.

The right to remain silent should never be rescinded in the interests of national security or on the strength of any other reason. It is a fundamental value in American society, one that distinguishes us, for no other government recognizes the right of its citizens to tell government officials “no” and make them abide by it. Whether we choose silence or choose to confess is not really the point. Knowing that we can choose one or the other is the point. In upholding this right, we license our government to protect all of us, innocent and guilty alike. In knowing that we have the right to say “no,” we will, as a nation, stand the test of time.


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