Miranda ruling doesn’t surprise local officials

Heidi Jolivette

Local officials are not surprised with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the 1966 Miranda decision.

Jerry Stewart, associate director of the ISU Department of Public Safety, said the Miranda rights are a crucial part in judiciary and law-enforcement procedures.

“It is important that officers be able to document that suspects understand each of their rights as they have been explained, and translators should be provided in a timely manner when circumstances dictate,” he said.

The 7-2 ruling, which affirmed that police have to provide suspects with warnings about attorney privileges and legal rights, will not affect DPS procedures, Stewart said.

“I don’t see the recent decision in having much of an impact, if any, on how policing is conducted, especially given that this country has operated under this system for over 30 years,” Stewart said.

Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, said the case is “a tremendous affirmation of the soundness of the Miranda decision 34 years ago.”

Stone also said the decision is a triumph for all U.S. citizens.

“In a country that is supposedly about individual liberty, the government should not attempt to take advantage of people’s ignorance of their rights,” Stone said.

Juveniles are generally awarded more protections than adults, Stewart said. Before questioning, parental notification as well as legal counsel is sometimes allowed.

The Miranda rights were created in 1966 after Ernesto Miranda was arrested on kidnapping and rape charges in Phoenix, Ariz., and officers obtained a written confession, which aided in convicting Miranda, without advising him of his legal rights.

Officers involved in the trial emphasized Miranda had not requested legal council, but the Supreme Court disagreed and said Miranda was not properly informed of his constitutional rights.

Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the opinion of the court, which set forth the Miranda warning used today.

The Supreme Court revisited the Miranda case recently when Charles Dickerson, Takoma Park, Md., who was arrested in connection with seven bank robberies, claimed agents did not give him a proper Miranda warning before making incriminating statements.