Police Interrogation in the 1990s: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Miranda
93 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011
Date Written: 1996 1996
Miranda v. Arizona is the Supreme Court’s most famous criminal law decision, spelling out the requirements for police interrogation of criminal suspects. Despite its fame, we have little empirical knowledge about how the decision has affected police interrogation in the years that followed. What percentage of suspects waives Miranda rights? How many confess? How important are confessions to the outcome of prosecutions? No one knows the answer.
This Article provides answers to those questions. After a review of existing literature in Part I, Part II sets forth the methodology of the empirical study. Part III reports the specific findings, including assessments of custodial interrogations, noncustodial interrogations, police compliance with Miranda rules, and ultimate outcomes of criminal cases. Part IV assesses the importance of these findings with respect to the wisdom of Miranda. The Article concludes that the Miranda decision, despite the promises of the Court and its defenders, has yet to be empirically justified as the proper balance between the competing interests of criminal suspects and society at large.
Keywords: victim, crime victim, impact statement, criminal justice, sentencing
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