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Fate Of Ernesto Miranda

Updated on August 24, 2016

Fame Through the U.S. Supreme Court

When learning about or researching many famous cases, I often wondered what actually happened to the person involved. The legal battle and back story rarely ends with the famous case. In my own practice, winning in the appellate court can either be a decisive victory or simply one step toward achieving victory. I figured other people may also be curious. Here is the story of Ernesto Miranda, the namesake of the famous Miranda warnings.

United States Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court Ruling

In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and rape by the Phoenix Police Department. After two hours of interrogation, he confessed. He was not told he had the right to counsel, nor was he told he had the right to remain silent. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld his conviction and the admission of his confession. An appeal to the United States Supreme Court resulted in the famous decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). The court threw out his confession and conviction because he was not warned of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney. This led to the famous Miranda warnings, which are:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.

Failure to comply with this requirement can result in suppression of evidence after the filing of a motion to suppress.

Life After The United States Supreme Court Case

Miranda’s case was sent back to the trial court, where he was retried and convicted without the use of his illegally obtained confession. He was again sentenced to serve 20-30 years in 1967. He was paroled in 1972. After his release, he made a living autographing police officer’s Miranda cards, which the police used to read the Miranda warnings to suspects. Miranda was stabbed to death in a bar in 1976. Ironically, the suspect invoked his right to remain silent and did not confess. He was released for lack of evidence against him.


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