Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

IRAC Summary: Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Issue: The issue in Miranda v. Arizona is whether the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination extends to the police interrogation of a suspect in custody and whether certain procedural safeguards are necessary to ensure that a suspect’s confession is truly voluntary.

Rule: The Supreme Court held that the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination requires law enforcement officials to advise a suspect interrogated in custody of their rights to remain silent and to obtain an attorney before questioning starts, and the right to have an attorney present during the interrogation. These warnings are known as Miranda Rights.

Application: The Court applied its interpretation of the Fifth Amendment to the facts of the case, where Ernesto Miranda had not been informed of his rights prior to the police interrogation. During the interrogation, Miranda confessed to the charges without being aware of his right to remain silent or his right to consult with an attorney. The Court found that the confession was obtained in a setting that inherently undermined the defendant’s will to resist and compelled him to speak where he would not otherwise do so freely, making the confession inadmissible.

Conclusion: The Supreme Court concluded that Miranda’s confession was obtained in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights and set forth specific guidelines for law enforcement to follow to protect the rights of individuals in custody. Hence, Miranda’s conviction was overturned, and the case established the principle that detained criminal suspects must be informed of their rights to an attorney and against self-incrimination before police questioning, leading to the creation of the “Miranda warning.”

Detailed IRAC Outline


  • The specific legal issue is whether the police must inform a suspect of their constitutional rights to counsel and protection against self-incrimination before conducting a custodial interrogation, and what the consequences are if they fail to do so.


  • The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination, stating that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
  • The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel.
  • Prior cases, such as Escobedo v. Illinois, had begun the process of outlining these protections.
  • The Supreme Court synthesized these principles and established a new rule that required police to inform suspects of their rights.


  • Ernesto Miranda was arrested and taken into police custody, where he was interrogated without being informed of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or his Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel.
  • The interrogation resulted in Miranda signing a confession, which was then used at trial to secure his conviction.
  • The application of the rule required a consideration of the circumstances under which the confession was obtained and whether these confessions were the product of a free and rational choice.
  • The Supreme Court determined that the atmosphere and pressures associated with police interrogation can lead to a confession not freely self-determined, thus necessitating protective procedures.
  • The Court outlined that without proper safeguards, the process of in-custody interrogation does not respect the will of the suspect and violates the Fifth Amendment.
  • It was determined that Miranda’s confession was not made with a full understanding of his rights, and thus it was involuntary under the Fifth Amendment.


  • The confession obtained from Miranda was deemed inadmissible because he was not informed of his rights to silence and counsel.
  • The Supreme Court mandated that the prosecution may not use statements arising from a custodial interrogation unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.
  • The establishment of the Miranda warnings was meant to ensure that the suspect is aware of and understands their rights.
  • Miranda’s conviction was overturned, and the case established that the police must provide the Miranda warnings to ensure that a suspect’s Fifth Amendment rights are not violated during custodial interrogation.

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