Flagpole.com, July 21, 2010


The 1966 Miranda v. Arizona decision is arguably the most important and undeniably the most famous of all U.S. Supreme Court criminal procedure decisions. The noble purpose of this legal landmark is to prevent Americans taken into custody by police on criminal charges from being subjected to improper interrogation practices calculated to compel citizens to incriminate themselves.

Few people realize that since the early 1970s the Supreme Court has been stealthily choking the life out of Miranda. The latest example of this process of slow strangulation occurred a few weeks ago, on June 1, when the Court in Berghuis v. Thompkins reversed a lower court and held that a man convicted of murder in a Michigan state court was not entitled to a new trial. This 5-4 decision, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion for the Court and Justice Sotomayer authoring the opinion for the four dissenters, will be comprehensively examined later in this article.

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