Miranda v. Arizona

(1966)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

Chief Justice Earl Warren’s Majority Opinion

In the first paragraph of the majority opinion—which was joined by Black, Douglas, Brennan, and Fortas—Warren places the four cases in question securely in the province of the constitutional rights of the accused, or “the restraints society must observe consistent with the Federal Constitution in prosecuting individuals for crime.” The tone Warren adopts in this first paragraph foreshadows the Court's decision—it concerns not a suspected criminal who is questioned by the police but rather “an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation.” In these cases the Court deals with “the necessity for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.” At this point, the reader clearly may anticipate that Miranda has won on appeal.

Warren next aligns the cases in Miranda with...

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Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona. (Library of Congress)

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