With the federal Supreme Court recently turning out a number of major decisions in pending cases, there have been several significant changes that affect the rights of people across the United States. How the Supreme Court Justices rule in cases and interpret the law can have major implications for everyone. Among the recent rulings have been several with noteworthy criminal justice implications.
For example, the Supreme Court entered a ruling on a Miranda Warning case in June 2022 that will affect those who allege misconduct by the police. The Miranda Warning is the verbal explanation of rights that police officers provide to someone in state custody before questioning them.
Some people have started to claim that the Supreme Court ruling on this recent Miranda-related case affects the basic rights of those arrested by police officers. Did the Supreme Court undo the previous Miranda ruling the way that some people claim?
The Supreme Court did not reverse its Miranda decision
Despite what some alarmists have tried to claim, everyone under arrest in the United States still has the same protections as they did before this recent ruling. The obligation of police officers to provide the Miranda Warning is the result of a court case decided by the Supreme Court in 1966.
Ever since, officers hoping to question someone already in state custody would have to provide the Miranda Warning prior to questioning that person. If they failed to do so, the defendant could use that failure to prevent the courts from considering certain statements that they made to the police. In some situations, defendants have also taken police officers to court because of Miranda failures.
It is the right to civil litigation and not the procedural issues that the Supreme Court ruled on recently. They determined that individual officers should not face civil lawsuits because of a Miranda violation. If police departments make Miranda Warning errors, the people affected by those mistakes can still challenge the statements that they made to the police and use that violation of their rights as part of their defense strategy.
Learning about the changing interpretation of your rights as a defendant will help you craft the most effective defense strategy when facing criminal charges.