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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:01 am 
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Black Sites and Miranda Rights

by Douglas Watts | Sep 21 2006 -

Kennebec River, Augusta, Maine.

Thanks to TV shows like Adam-12, the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona is perhaps the best known court decision in American history. We all know that police are required to read a person their “Miranda Rights” when placing them under arrest. And most Americans, thanks to television cop shows, can recite these rights from memory:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present with you during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost. Do you understand each of these rights?”

The case arose when an Arizona man, Ernest Miranda, gave police a written, signed confession admitting he had raped a young woman in Phoenix, Arizona on March 2, 1963. The victim identified Miranda in a police line-up. He had a lengthy criminal record and had been charged with attempted rape in the past. The court appointed Miranda a lawyer who called no witnesses. A jury found Miranda guilty based upon his signed confession.

From prison Ernest Miranda appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis that he was not informed by police of his right to an attorney before he was questioned. He argued that under the Sixth Amendment, police had a responsibility to inform all criminal suspects of their right to have an attorney present during questioning; and police must provide this information to suspects before questioning. With three Justices dissenting, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Miranda and ordered a new trial -- where Miranda was found guilty and imprisoned again.

The Supreme Court’s 1966 ruling and reasoning in Miranda is remarkably relevant to what is occurring in the United States today viz. the legal rights (if any) accorded to people captured by the US military or CIA on suspicion of having an association or information about al Qaeda.



"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman

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