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Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To Remain Silent

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Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To

Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To Remain Silent, by Gary L. Stuart

You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost. Do you understand these rights? If you do, it’s because of the case of Ernest Miranda v. Arizona — but what do you understand about that case?


Title: Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To Remain Silent
Author: Gary L. Stuart
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
ISBN: 0816523134

•  Much attention is paid to the people involved
•  Great resource for the average reader
•  Does a good job of setting the intellectual and cultural stage for the debates

•  I would like to have seen more on the history of these rights, going back to England

•  History and implications of the Miranda decision
•  Explains who the people involved were and what they did
•  Describes the implications Miranda has for everyone today


Book Review

Miranda v. Arizona is one of the most famous of all Supreme Court cases and the “Miranda Warning” that takes it name from this case is known around the world, even among people who don’t actually enjoy any of these rights. It might qualify as one of America’s unsung gifts to the world when it comes to people’s conceptions of personal and civil liberties. All of this stemmed form the arrest of a man who was likely guilty of the robbery, kidnapping, and rape charges he was convicted on — a man who was murdered in a bar fight after he was eventually released.

Although only those who are arrested are likely to be faced with exercising their Miranda rights, these rights still cover everyone and are arguably fundamental to a free society. How and why this might be the case are made clear by Gary L. Stuart in his book Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To Remain Silent. Stuart tells us about the people (many of whom he knew personally), various legal cases, and quite a few legal arguments.

It’s amazing to think that the Miranda warning is a mere four decades old, but it really wasn’t that long ago that suspects who were arrested were not informed about any of their rights, and police used shady tactics to elicit confessions. Part of what makes Stuart’s book so interesting is the time he gives to those who opposed Miranda’s case, as well as his ability to explain the “law and order” mentality that abhorred telling suspected criminals that they had the “right” not to talk to the police.

Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To

Miranda: The Story Of America's Right To Remain Silent, by Gary L. Stuart

    “The forces of law and order during the sixties were facing an increasing opposition from the left, and were becoming more ideological, losing sight of the basis of the system — that the government, not the defendant, is required to meet the high burden of proof in criminal cases, that the job of the defense attorney is not to “free” anyone but to protect those accused of crime from a denial of their fundamental constitutional rights. ...[Duane R.] Nedrud...pointed to the single most important difference between prosecutors and defense lawyers in the sixties. The former assumed guilt at the custodial interrogation stage; the latter assumed that the state had yet to meet its high burden of proof in criminal cases, giving the “suspect” a presumption of innocence.”

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