Ernesto Miranda was born in Mesa, Arizona on March 9, 1941. He first began getting into trouble while he was attending grade school when he was a child. Miranda’s first criminal conviction was in 8th grade. The following year he was convicted for burglary, and sentenced to one year in Arizona State Industrial School for Boys. In 1956, almost a month after his release from reform school, he was walking home one night when he happened to glimpse in a house to where a nude woman was lying on a bed. Miranda then entered the home, which he did through the unlocked front door. He got in the bed with the woman, attempted but failed to have sex with her, and remained in bed with her until her husband came home. The husband immediately called the police and Miranda was then returned to reform school for an additional year. After his second release, he relocated to Las Angeles, California. Within a few months after his arrival to Las Angeles, Miranda was arrested but not convicted on suspicion of armed robbery and for some minor sex offenses, including being caught in the act of spying on people’s sexual activities. After two and a half years in custody, it was decided that 18-year-old Miranda had to be deported back to Arizona.
With little family support from his father, (his mother had died when he was young, and his father did not want any relationship with him) an already lengthily criminal record, and a few job skills, he decided to join the military. During his service with the army, he received many absent without leave charges, or what is also called AWOL charges and additional charges for spying on other people’s sexual activities. Miranda became discharged after 15 months after he failed to consult a psychiatrist as ordered. It was known that Miranda had traveled around the south after that. He had spent time in Texas jail for living on the street with ought any money for food and a place to go. He also had been arrested in Nashville for driving a stolen car. Since Miranda had driven the stolen vehicle across state lines, Miranda was sentenced to one year and a day in the federal prison system. He had served time in Chillicothe, Ohio and later in Lompoc, California. (Www.trutv.com- Miranda Vs. Arizona: The Crime That Changed American Justice)
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After a couple years staying away from jail, he became a laborer on the night loading dock for the Phoenix produce company. At this time he started living with Twila Hoffman, a 29-year-old single mother with a son and a daughter. Mrs. Hoffman was under law still married. She could not afford to file a divorce with her husband. In the early hours of March 3rd, 1963, an 18-year-old movie theater attendant was walking her way home from work when all of a sudden Miranda dragged her into his car, drove out to the desert, and raped her. Afterwards he dropped the girl off near her home. The story she told police, often vague and contradictory, described her attacker as a Hispanic man wearing glasses, late 20s, who was driving an early fifties car, either a Ford or Chevrolet. By chance, one week later, the girl and her brother-in-law saw what she believed was the car, a 1953 Packard, license plate DFL-312. Records showed that this plate was actually registered to a late model Oldsmobile, but DFL-317. It was a Packard, registered to a Twila N. Hoffman; and her boyfriend, Ernesto Miranda, now 23, fit the attacker’s description almost exactly. On March 13, Miranda was woken up at his home by Mrs.
Hoffman and was told to go downtown for questioning about the rape and armed robbery. Miranda had stolen $8 from a bank worker just eleven days before the rape. He then was taken to police headquarters where he was immediately placed into a line-up with three other Hispanic males of similar height and build, though none wore glasses. The victim did not positively identify Miranda but said that he bore the closest resemblance to her attacker. Detectives Carroll Cooley and Wilfred Young then took Miranda into an interrogation room. He was told, inaccurately, that he had been identified. Two hours later Miranda signed a written confession. He did not voluntarily consent. The confession included a typed disclaimer, stating that Miranda had ‘full knowledge of his legal rights, understanding any statement he makes may be used against him.’ and that he had knowingly waived those rights. The police had violated Miranda’s 5th Amendment right to remain silent and is a resource of self-incrimination. They had also violated his 6th amendment right to legal counsel. Cooley had said that he assumed that Miranda had known his rights because he had been an ex-convict that has been through the routine before.
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Miranda was given a lawyer, Alvin Moore, for his court trial. After reviewing Miranda’s record, Moore felt that an insanity defense would be appropriate, and filed notice of his strategy one day before the case was set for trial. Over the next several weeks, Miranda met with psychiatrists for the defense and the state, who eventually told the court that Miranda was at least fit to stand trial. Even though Miranda was found mentally abnormal, he was able to understand the charges against him. The reports forced Moore to abandon his insanity claim. The case was set for trial mid-June, 1963.
Moore objected to the introduction of the confession because he believed the U.S Supreme Court had ruled that a suspect is entitled to an attorney at the time of arrest. He was referring to the high courts decision in Gideon V. Wainwright, where the court had not said a defendant is allowed to have an attorney during arrest, but that all defendants are allowed counsel during trial. Maricopa Superior Court Judge Yale McFate overruled the objection and allowed Miranda’s confession to be heard by the jury. During his jury instructions, McFate reminded the jurors that he had allowed Miranda’s confession to be considered by them, but they were free to overrule his finding if they felt the confession was coerced. And most importantly, he had told them that while coercion (use of force) of a confession would render it useless to the state. The fact that a defendant was under arrest at the time he made the confession, or that he was not at the time represented by a counsel or that he was not told that any statement he might make could or would be used against him, in and of themselves, will not render such confessions involuntary. It did not take the jury long to decide that Miranda was guilty of rape and kidnapping. Two weeks later, Miranda was sentenced to 20 to 30 years on both charges; he was to be sentenced at the same time. Alvin Moore immediately appealed the case to the Arizona Supreme Court. (Www.answers.com- Miranda Vs. Arizona)
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The U.S. Supreme Court claimed that the defendant is entitled to a lawyer just as it is ruled in the Escobedo decision. Unfortunately, former U.S senator and Arizona governor Ernest McFarland disagreed, stating that the decision that Miranda made by not requesting a lawyer at the time of his arrest did not qualify him for the protections offered from Escobedo, resulting in a huge controversy between the states and federal courts. The question was, just what did Escobedo mean?
In November 1965, the U.S Supreme Court chose to hear Miranda’s case. In 1966, one year later, the court ruled that the Miranda Warning, named after Miranda, would clearly be informed to the accused that, “You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost. During any questioning, you may decide at any time to exercise these rights, not answer any questions or make any statements. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?” (//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernesto_Miranda) Still to this day, police departements around the United States carry out Miranda Warning Cards in order to read the warning accurately and properly.
Miranda still had been convicted and had to serve one-third of his time prison for both the robbery and rape charges. While still serving his sentence, he told his friend outside of prison that he wanted to change his life around and become better. But soon after he was released, he went back to his same ways. Some were minor traffic offenses. He eventually had lost his driver’s license due to the offenses. Miranda then violated his parole, and was sent back another year at Arizona State Prison.
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36 year old Ernesto Miranda had died one night in January of 1976. He was brutally stabbed to death at a bar fight over a handful of change. Police had found Miranda’s killer. This time they had made sure that they advised the suspect of his Miranda rights. (//www.thecapras.org/mcapra/miranda/rights.html)