By Dr. Christopher Thrasher
- 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 an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
- You can decide to exercise these rights and stop answering questions at any time.
- Do you understand each of these rights as I have explained them to you?
- Many of us have heard those statements, but few of us fully understand them.
On March 13, 1963, police arrested Ernesto Miranda on charges of rape and kidnapping after a witness identified him in Phoenix, Arizona. Following his arrest, the police brought Ernesto Miranda in for questioning on a larceny charge. During his two-hour interrogation, police did not advise Miranda of his constitutional rights to an attorney or to remain silent. Nonetheless, Miranda signed a written confession affirming knowledge of these rights and admitting to the crimes. On June 27, 1963, Miranda was convicted of rape, kidnapping, and robbery.
Miranda appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reviewed the case in 1966. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ruled that the prosecution should not have introduced Miranda’s confession as evidence because the police failed to first inform Miranda of his right to an attorney and his right against self-incrimination. Today, the Miranda Rights remain, in the words of Chief Just Earl Warren, “the essential mainstay” of our legal system.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the arrest of Ernesto Miranda, and the start of a three-year saga that culminated in the Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, Fayetteville Technical Community College filmed a historical reenactment of the key moments in the Miranda ordeal.
Please join us in Cumberland Hall Auditorium (2211 Hull Road) at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) on March 7 from noon to 3 p.m. for “Making Noise About Silence,” the world premiere of FTCC’s educational film about the Miranda decision. After playing the short film, legal and law enforcement experts from our community will share their thoughts on the Miranda case. Members of the panel will then answer audience questions.
The event is open and free to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP today to reserve your seat.
- Hon. James F. Ammons, Jr., Resident Superior Court Judge, 12th Judicial District
- Chief Deputy Casper “Jack” Broadus, III, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
- Billy West, Cumberland County District Attorney
- Cynthia P. Black, Esq., Cumberland County Public Defender
- Larry Vick, Esq. Col (R), US Army JAG Corps
- Chief Kimberle Braden, Fayetteville City Police Department