The Miranda Rights comprise a significant part of the law enforcement system in the United States of America. Miranda Rights are used to familiarize the suspect with his or her rights. However, the implementation of Miranda Rights may become a challenging task in particular cases. In the following paper, I have to respond to the controversial situation from the point of view of a mentor of a new police officer.
We will write a custom Essay on Miranda Warnings in the United States specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The case under consideration describes a new police officer’s failure to read Miranda Warnings to the non-native speaker of English. Before the evaluation of the case, it is necessary to provide a brief overview of Miranda Rights. Geobeats (2012) provides an insight into the origin of Miranda Rights describing the case known as Miranda v. Arizona. In this case, Ernesto Miranda was suspected of rape and kidnapping.
However, his guilt was not proved because he was never informed about his rights. Miranda Rights were established as a result of the expansion of the Fifth Amendment by the Supreme Court in 1966. All police officers had to read suspects their rights to prevent self-discrimination after this change. The full text of Miranda Rights sounds as follows: “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 provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” (What are Your Miranda Rights? n.d., para. 1).
As a mentor of a new police officer, I have to dwell on the following issues related to the case:
- Reasonable suspicion to detain an individual;
- Miranda Rights and non-native speakers of English;
- The need to read rights to both the suspect and his father;
- The possible role of the suspect’s father as the interpreter.
The first vivid aspect of the case is the police officer’s uncertainty about the involvement of the suspect in the break-in. The principle of reasonable suspicion refers to the right to detain a suspect. Reasonable suspicion should not be based on exact and obvious facts. As far as the boy was outside the house after the recent break-in, the new police officer had the right to detain him. The second issue concerns the failure to read the Miranda Warning when the suspect does not understand it. It is necessary to explain the new officer that some people may not understand Miranda Rights even if they know simple English.
As Communication of Rights Group (n.d.) states, “Even speakers who can maintain a conversation in English may not have sufficient proficiency to understand complex sentences used to communicate rights/cautions, legal terms, or English spoken at fast conversational rates” (p. 2). When the police officer realized that the suspect did not speak English, he should have tried to read rights using simple and plain language.
For instance, instead of saying “You have the right to remain silent”, he could have said “You have not to talk/speak to anyone”. It was also advisable to read every sentence separately and very slowly. When the police officer found out that the suspect did not understand English, he should have informed him of the right to have an interpreter and tried to obtain an interpreter for the individual. The failure to provide an interpreter may become a substantial reason for the overturn of the conviction. In the case of United States v. Garibay, the defendant had difficulties with the English language and low IQ. He was not provided with the interpreter, and it became the reason for the overturn of the conviction (Pavlenko, 2008).
The next issue occurred when the father arrived to see what happened to his son. The police officer failed to read the rights to both of them despite the fact that the father spoke English. It is significant to add that the police officer should have explained the situation to the father. Also, the police officer should know that it was not possible to use the father as an interpreter. The translation of the legal terms could not be executed by anybody adequately. “In the case of People v. Mejia-Mendoza, the Supreme Court of Colorado found that the translation of the Miranda Rights into Spanish was embellished and inaccurate and ruled that the government did not properly advise the defendant of his rights” (Pavlenko, 2008, p. 4). Such a precedent demonstrates the need to find a professional interpreter to avoid further complications of the case.
The new police officer should remember the most important recommendations related to this case. First, it is necessary to evaluate the language proficiency of the suspect. The police officer has to read every sentence slowly and in a simple language. Second, all non-native speakers of English should be provided with the interpreter. Third, relatives and other people who do not have a special education cannot be allowed to translate legal terms including the Miranda Rights.
Communication of Rights Group. (n.d.). Guidelines for communicating rights to non-native speakers of English in Australia, England and Wales, and the USA. Web.
Geobeats (2012). You Have the Right — Origin of Miranda Rights [Video file]. Web.
Pavlenko, A. (2008). “I’m Very Not About the Law Part”: Nonnative Speakers of English and the Miranda Warnings. TESOL Quarterly, 42(1), 1-30. Web.
What Are Your Miranda Rights?. (n.d.). Web.