Ernesto Miranda

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Ernesto Miranda was arrested in his home and transferred to a police station where the victim of the crime positively identified him, and after that taken to an interrogation room. This was for a kidnapping and rape that took place in phoenix, Arizona, in March 1963. The accused was not informed of his right to counsel before interrogation took place. After two hours, law enforcement officers came out from with a written confession bearing the signature of Miranda. It contained a proviso, with Miranda’s signature that said that he had complete knowledge of his rights, and understood any statement that he makes could be used against him in a court of law and that he had given up on those rights.

 In the first round of hearing, Miranda was not given an attorney. His attorney’s objections to the use of his written confessions was overruled and he was handed a 20-year prison term for kidnapping and rape.

The admissibility of a confession obtained without warning of incriminating one’s self and in the absence of an attorney in a court of law is what drew a lot of interest to the case. The right to an attorney and information against self incrimination are guaranteed by the 5th and the 6th amendments of the constitution of the United States. Other constitutional debates like whose responsibility does the task of determining if an accused as given up his rights lie on?, at what point should a lawyer be appointed for defendants who are not able to afford their own? And what is the admissibility standard for “voluntary confessions”? (Burgan et al 2006).

The Escobedo rule states that all individuals have the right to a lawyer if an investigation goes beyond a general inquiry and targets a specific person. The rule proceeds to state that any statement made by a defendant in police detention cannot be accepted in court of law. In the case that the police warn the suspect of his right to silence and the chance for consultation with a legal counsel then the confession is admissible (Burgan et al 2006).

In Gideon v.wainwright (1963), the supreme court of the United States declared that all states had the responsibility of providing free lawyers to criminal defendants who could not afford one. In the view of the court, poor defendants were being denied their sixth amendment constitutional right to a lawyer which applied to states under the 14th amendment due process clause. The court also asserted that “lawyers are necessities not luxuries”.

In the case of Escobedo v. Illinois (1963), the purpose of the criminal law is to instill the right of every defendant to an attorney as guaranteed by the 6th amendment. In the case of Gideon v. wainwright (1963), the court’s ruling was to compel all states to provide free legal counsel to poor defendants because failure to do so will deny them there right under the sixth amendment. (Hall et al 1976). The jurisdiction of these criminal laws applies to the states as it incorporated the right to counsel clause to the states via the 14th amendment due process clause. It at last established that even poor defendants had the right to legal counsel.

Accomplice liability is ensuring that all those who assisted in committing a crime are held responsible. It is also referred to as abetting, complicity or aiding. Accomplices are charged equally with the individual they assisted in the commission of a crime. For a successful prosecution of an accomplice, the prosecution must establish that there was violation by a principal, the accomplice was aware of the violation or plan to commit one, and that the accomplice provided assistance to the principal.

Criminal liability is being responsible activities that cause damage to the society and are prosecuted by the government. For crime to occur there must be intent. Some acts of negligence can lead to criminal liability. An example is drunken driving homicide. The killing was not intentional but the act of driving under influence of alcohol is criminal therefore leading to criminal liability. In the Miranda case the defendant was liable for the crime of rape.

Actus reus refers to combination of the crime rather than the mental state of the defendant. It is made up of: conduct, result and omission or state of affairs. One’s behavior might be criminal e.g. lying. Conduct crimes include perjury, theft, and rape, possession of fire arms or drugs and defaulting on payment. Miranda committed rape and was convicted due to his conduct. Result crimes require causation. It relates to the outcome of the act or omission of the defendant. It comprises of assault, battery, wounding murder and criminal damage. Being rather than doing constitute crimes arising from state of affairs. Example is driving while drunken.

Mens rea is having an intent or knowledge that an act is wrong. In mens rear, an act alone does not create criminal liability unless accompanied by a guilty state of mind. For one to commit rape, he or she must first conceive in their minds that the act is criminal.

Concurrence is the requirement in criminal law to proof the occurrence of both actus reus and mens rea in order to be a criminal act. There is only exception in crimes of strict liability. In temporal concurrence, the actus Reus and mens rea take place at the same time while in motivational concurrence; the mens rea motivates the actus reus. Miranda committed motivational concurrence as in the case of rape, a guilty mind motivates a guilty action.

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