Miranda Warnings

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

On any given night, televisions viewers will likely see a cop show where someone is read their rights, known as the Miranda Warnings.

But it's not as simple as it looks on TV and the U.S. Supreme Court is taking a new look at the warnings after an incident in Colorado

Since 1966, police have been using the Miranda Warnings to notify suspects of their rights; the right to remain silent and to consult an attorney at the time of arrest.

"It's something that we deal with on a daily basis. It protects a persons rights and ensures that people we're interrogating are knowledgeable of what their rights are," said Chief Dominic Iasparro, Rockford Police Department.

Now a case headed to the Supreme Court questions whether physical evidence seized when police haven't given one of those warnings can be used at trial.

"Miranda comes into play when a person is technically in custody and questions will come up at what point is the person in custody? When the officer first arrives? When the officer makes the initial inquiry into what happened? Or trying to recover evidence at the scene," Iasparro said.

This isn't the first time the Miranda Warnings have come before the high court.

"There's no hard and fast rule because every situation is fluid. Everywhere situation where a police officer has contact with an individual typically will be different," said Rene Hernandez, Rockford attorney.

Lower courts have ruled that physical evidence seized without the Miranda Rights cannot be used in court, but Hernandez says the Supreme Court could go either way.

"This is a mixed bag supreme court case. I think it is not going to be a majority case. I think there's going to be some dissent here," Hernandez said.

Hernandez says he's had many cases where testimony has been thrown out because defendants were not properly Mirandized.

The case the Supreme Court will examine involves an incident in Colorado. Police were arresting a man in a domestic dispute. As officers read the suspect his Miranda Warnings, the man cut off police and then offered incriminated information. Information that lead to the seizure of a weapon and charges against the man.


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