The Effects of Miranda v. Arizona: Embedded in Our National Culture?

Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, Vol. 29, 2002

69 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2008

See all articles by Richard A. Leo

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law

George C. Thomas

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School

Abstract

Miranda v. Arizona required that police inform suspects, prior to custodial interrogation, of their constitutional rights to silence and appointed counsel. It also required that suspects voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive these rights in order for any resulting confession to be admitted into evidence at trial. The rationale of Miranda as elaborated by the Supreme Court has evolved from encouraging suspects to resist police interrogation to informing suspects that they have a right to resist. Reflecting a fundamental tenet in American culture and law, Miranda today seeks to protect the free choice of a suspect to decide whether to answer police questions during interrogation. Two generations of empirical scholarship on Miranda suggest that the Miranda requirements have exerted a negligible effect on the ability of the police to elicit confessions and on the ability of prosecutors to win convictions. There is no good evidence that Miranda has substantially depressed confession rates or imposed significant costs on the American criminal justice system. The practical benefits of Miranda to custodial suspects may also be negligible. Police have developed multiple strategies to avoid, circumvent, nullify, or simply violate Miranda and its invocation rules.

Keywords: Criminal procedure, Miranda v. Arizona, criminal justice, interrogation techniques

Suggested Citation

Leo, Richard A. and Thomas, George C., The Effects of Miranda v. Arizona: Embedded in Our National Culture?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1141380

Richard A. Leo (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

George C. Thomas

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School ( email )

NJ
United States

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