Supreme Court must uphold Miranda law

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday, Dec. 6, to re-evaluate one of the foundations of the contemporary American legal system. Miranda v. Arizona, the 1966 case that resulted in the requirement of police officers to inform suspects of their Constitutional rights prior to arrest, is being challenged by attorney and University of Utah Law Professor Paul Cassel and his associates. However, their contentions with the efficacy of the Miranda decision are invalid, as are their methods to overturn it. While it is almost always beneficial for Americans when the Supreme Court elaborates on an issue, the Court should decide that Cassel’s objections are not sufficient to overturn Miranda.
On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court announced its decision on Miranda v. Arizona, which concluded that Ernesto Miranda was convicted of kidnapping and rape based on his confession and two-hour interrogation without the presence of counsel. Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court decided 5-4 that Miranda was denied his Constitutional rights against self-incrimination and to counsel, and that “prosecuting individuals for crime” must be “consistent with the federal Constitution.” The decision required that apprehended suspects be informed of their right to remain silent, their right to counsel and that their statements might be used against them by prosecutors.
Cassel has two contentions with the Miranda requirements, both of which are invalid. He claims there exists the possibility that a guilty criminal could be released because he or she had not been properly Mirandized. While certainly confessions are suppressed, though infrequently, very rarely will a guilty criminal be released. There are several other instruments used to prosecute criminals — such as direct evidence, witnesses and motive — that are much more convincing empirical information to base a conviction upon. And even Cassel admits there are very few cases that illustrate this criticism. His other contention is that informing suspects of their rights dissuades them from confessing. However, the Constitution specifically delineates the right against self-incrimination. When suspects are unaware of this right, they would unknowingly surrender it, when, according to the Constitution, they would not have to.
Cassel is attempting to overturn Miranda by claiming it was not a Constitutional interpretation, which Congress cannot overturn, but a mere recommendation by the Warren Court, which Congress can overturn. Cassel refers to a 1968 law, Section 3501 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which claims Miranda was a recommendation, and overturns it. However, it was later considered to be invalid, as Miranda became commonly accepted as a Constitutional interpretation, and therefore cannot be overturned by Congress. Warren’s decision also had explicit references to criminal procedure as delineated by the Constitution, and that interrogation involved “inherently compelling pressures” that could violate the Fifth Amendment.
Cassel’s challenges to Miranda are both illogical and dangerous. One of the fundamental tenets of the American judicial system is that it is better for 10 guilty persons to go free than for one innocent person to be imprisoned. While overturning Miranda might ease prosecution in a few cases, it would do so at the expense of Americans’ Constitutional rights.