Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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This topic is about the September 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Not So Great American Novel by James E Doucette



The Peter Donovan case led to a famous lawsuit, because he was questioned for three days by the police before he was allowed to see an attorney. The robbery happened in 1961 and he was executed in 1963 or 1964. Pete’s case was one of the events that contributed to the Miranda Rights ruling in 1966.
(Page 23 - Kindle version)


The Miranda warning came into the practice of the USA law enforcement system after the case regarding Ernesto Miranda in 1963. In short, it allows the suspect to get legal aid from a lawyer when he faces questioning by the police, and he/she gets the right to remain silent and the interview will be over if he/she decides to remain silent. Please follow the below link from Wikipidea for further details.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_v._Arizona

This practice was included with the intention of protecting the innocent suspects from the questionings by the police which can sometimes be unjust as well as barbaric (a popular secret). It may have its pros like preventing the innocent from being brutally treated, protect them from taking wrong confessions which are made under threats and the wrong party being punished in court cases. But I think this is used more frequently by the professional criminals to just manipulate the police and their interrogations, and they know that police can do nothing more than just questioning. And the lawyer who will present at the time of interrogation will support this not with the best interest of the police, but of his client. By this way I think the criminals are mostly benefited by this rather than the innocent. What do you think?
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Sushan wrote: September 11th, 2022, 9:55 am By this way I think the criminals are mostly benefited by this rather than the innocent. What do you think?
I think that this follows directly from the core concern not to convict innocent people. In practice, this leads directly to the release of a few guilty persons. It could not be otherwise, in the real world.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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The majority of those suspected of crimes are guilty of that crime or another crime (mostly because of the categories of individuals within which the police search for suspects). Having said that, a substantial minority of those questioned are wholly innocent.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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LuckyR wrote: September 11th, 2022, 3:11 pm The majority of those suspected of crimes are guilty of that crime or another crime (mostly because of the categories of individuals within which the police search for suspects). Having said that, a substantial minority of those questioned are wholly innocent.
Let's be careful with balance here. It's difficult to know who is guilty and who is not. No-one ever said that the investigation of crimes, and the prosecution of criminals, is easy. Hopefully, the majority of those suspected of criminal behaviour are guilty, but we don't really know that.

What we do know is that, when DNA testing became possible and available, they went down 'death rows', and re-examined the evidence. A full third of American prisoners sentenced to death were innocent of the crimes for which they were going to be killed!

My (only) point here is that we shouldn't jump to conclusions about the proportions of guilty and innocent people in court, in prison, or already executed. Because we can't really be sure.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

Post by LuckyR »

Pattern-chaser wrote: September 12th, 2022, 11:29 am
LuckyR wrote: September 11th, 2022, 3:11 pm The majority of those suspected of crimes are guilty of that crime or another crime (mostly because of the categories of individuals within which the police search for suspects). Having said that, a substantial minority of those questioned are wholly innocent.
Let's be careful with balance here. It's difficult to know who is guilty and who is not. No-one ever said that the investigation of crimes, and the prosecution of criminals, is easy. Hopefully, the majority of those suspected of criminal behaviour are guilty, but we don't really know that.

What we do know is that, when DNA testing became possible and available, they went down 'death rows', and re-examined the evidence. A full third of American prisoners sentenced to death were innocent of the crimes for which they were going to be killed!

My (only) point here is that we shouldn't jump to conclusions about the proportions of guilty and innocent people in court, in prison, or already executed. Because we can't really be sure.
Our two posts are completely consistent. 2/3 is a majority and 1/3 is a substantial minority.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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LuckyR wrote: September 12th, 2022, 3:44 pm
Our two posts are completely consistent. 2/3 is a majority and 1/3 is a substantial minority.
The title is a loaded question: " rather than" asks which is the majority, which should be tracked by statistics if available.

Both, I would say, are protected by Miranda, and rightly so, as both are innocent. "Innocent suspect" is oxymoron, since suspect must be innocent. i would like to know what the author has said, other than asking a stupid question.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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Sushan wrote: September 11th, 2022, 9:55 am This practice was included with the intention of protecting the innocent suspects from the questionings by the police which can sometimes be unjust as well as barbaric (a popular secret).
I don't know what 'popular secret' means, but police procedure of that kind very often leads to coerced confession and wrongful conviction. A lot of those people are sentenced to death. This, by me, is not a good thing.
https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/policy-iss ... y-innocent
It may have its pros like preventing the innocent from being brutally treated, protect them from taking wrong confessions which are made under threats and the wrong party being punished in court cases.
Only if the police actually follow up on the Miranda warning. In fact, it doesn't prevent anybody from being brutally treated.
But I think this is used more frequently by the professional criminals to just manipulate the police and their interrogations, and they know that police can do nothing more than just questioning.
How is that manipulation? If you're arrested and don't say anything until your lawyer comes, that is your right. The police see you on the street when you're walking to work, they think you fit the description they've had from a witness to a robbery, they throw you to the ground, kneel on your back (if you're lucky, skinny and not too black), handcuff you and stuff you in back of a car, shove you into an interrogation room. You have no frickin idea what's going on and you're scared spitless, but nobody gives you any water for twelve hours and they don't let you get up off that metal chair or sleep or turn off the lights for 30, 35 hours, while big, mean, loud, sweaty guys take turns, in your face, yelling questions you don't understand what they're talking about, telling you they know you did it, you might as well confess and get it over with. All you have - I mean, literally, all you have to hang on to is the right to shut up.
And the lawyer who will present at the time of interrogation will support this not with the best interest of the police, but of his client. By this way I think the criminals are mostly benefited by this rather than the innocent.
The people who might benefit, whether they've committed any crime or not, are the ones who can afford a lawyer. In America, the law is a very expensive commodity.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

LuckyR wrote: September 11th, 2022, 3:11 pm The majority of those suspected of crimes are guilty of that crime or another crime (mostly because of the categories of individuals within which the police search for suspects). Having said that, a substantial minority of those questioned are wholly innocent.
Pattern-chaser wrote: September 12th, 2022, 11:29 am Let's be careful with balance here. It's difficult to know who is guilty and who is not. No-one ever said that the investigation of crimes, and the prosecution of criminals, is easy. Hopefully, the majority of those suspected of criminal behaviour are guilty, but we don't really know that.

What we do know is that, when DNA testing became possible and available, they went down 'death rows', and re-examined the evidence. A full third of American prisoners sentenced to death were innocent of the crimes for which they were going to be killed!

My (only) point here is that we shouldn't jump to conclusions about the proportions of guilty and innocent people in court, in prison, or already executed. Because we can't really be sure.
LuckyR wrote: September 12th, 2022, 3:44 pm Our two posts are completely consistent. 2/3 is a majority and 1/3 is a substantial minority.
OK, but let's be fair: You referred to "a substantial minority of those questioned", and I referred to those convicted. If a third of people questioned are innocent, I would be surprised. I would expect maybe 90% of those questioned would be innocent, and most of them would only be 'helping the police with their enquiries'. But I would hope that our legal systems could/would work well enough to reduce the conviction rate of innocent people to below, say, 1%. Is that unreasonable?

So no, I don't think we are entirely in agreement, although we aren't that far apart either. 😉
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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Quite clearly, the Miranda warning protects only the very ignorant or very stupid. Anyone of normal intelligence who owns a TV and has watched cop shows knows about the Miranda warning, and knows that he can request a lawyer and that anything he says can be used against him.

I think it's reasonable to provide mentally handicapped people (the only ones who benefit from the Miranda warning) with the same protections everyone else is already aware of.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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Sushan wrote: September 11th, 2022, 9:55 am
This practice was included with the intention of protecting the innocent suspects from the questionings by the police which can sometimes be unjust as well as barbaric (a popular secret). It may have its pros like preventing the innocent from being brutally treated, protect them from taking wrong confessions which are made under threats and the wrong party being punished in court cases.
The chief benefit of the Miranda warning (when police issue it and the suspect takes advantage of it) is ensuring that a witness is present during suspect interrogations.
But I think this is used more frequently by the professional criminals to just manipulate the police and their interrogations, and they know that police can do nothing more than just questioning. And the lawyer who will present at the time of interrogation will support this not with the best interest of the police, but of his client. By this way I think the criminals are mostly benefited by this rather than the innocent. What do you think?
Of course, simply because most of those identified as suspects and interrogated will be guilty of the offense in question. But if it prevents coerced confessions from any innocent persons then the warning is justified:

"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

--- William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: September 13th, 2022, 6:12 am
LuckyR wrote: September 11th, 2022, 3:11 pm The majority of those suspected of crimes are guilty of that crime or another crime (mostly because of the categories of individuals within which the police search for suspects). Having said that, a substantial minority of those questioned are wholly innocent.
Pattern-chaser wrote: September 12th, 2022, 11:29 am Let's be careful with balance here. It's difficult to know who is guilty and who is not. No-one ever said that the investigation of crimes, and the prosecution of criminals, is easy. Hopefully, the majority of those suspected of criminal behaviour are guilty, but we don't really know that.

What we do know is that, when DNA testing became possible and available, they went down 'death rows', and re-examined the evidence. A full third of American prisoners sentenced to death were innocent of the crimes for which they were going to be killed!

My (only) point here is that we shouldn't jump to conclusions about the proportions of guilty and innocent people in court, in prison, or already executed. Because we can't really be sure.
LuckyR wrote: September 12th, 2022, 3:44 pm Our two posts are completely consistent. 2/3 is a majority and 1/3 is a substantial minority.
OK, but let's be fair: You referred to "a substantial minority of those questioned", and I referred to those convicted. If a third of people questioned are innocent, I would be surprised. I would expect maybe 90% of those questioned would be innocent, and most of them would only be 'helping the police with their enquiries'. But I would hope that our legal systems could/would work well enough to reduce the conviction rate of innocent people to below, say, 1%. Is that unreasonable?

So no, I don't think we are entirely in agreement, although we aren't that far apart either. 😉
Well in reference to the 2/3, I never said "questioned", I said "suspected" meaning prosecuted. And since the US Department of Justice has a 93% conviction rate (in 2012 the last year I could find), the composition of suspected and convicted is very similar.

Of course, in reference to the "substantial minority", I did use "questioned" which as you pointed out would include witnesses so is sloppy wording on my part. I wasn't intentionally describing the guilt or innocence of witnesses, sorry about that.
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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

Post by Gee »

Sushan wrote: September 11th, 2022, 9:55 am It may have its pros like preventing the innocent from being brutally treated, protect them from taking wrong confessions which are made under threats and the wrong party being punished in court cases. But I think this is used more frequently by the professional criminals to just manipulate the police and their interrogations, and they know that police can do nothing more than just questioning. And the lawyer who will present at the time of interrogation will support this not with the best interest of the police, but of his client. By this way I think the criminals are mostly benefited by this rather than the innocent. What do you think?
I think that you have no actual hands-on experience with these matters and watch too much TV. You don't know what you are talking about and are dead wrong.

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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

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LuckyR wrote: September 11th, 2022, 3:11 pm The majority of those suspected of crimes are guilty of that crime or another crime (mostly because of the categories of individuals within which the police search for suspects). Having said that, a substantial minority of those questioned are wholly innocent.
Do you know what confirmation bias means?

As long as a "suspect" is used as another word for "criminal", murders like George Floyd's will happen. A "suspect" has not been charged with any crime. A "suspect" has not been to Court. When we use words like "dangerous suspect", like they do in cop shows, we are taking "innocent until proven guilty" and throwing it into the trash.

Miranda laws do not stop these problems, but they help.

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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

Post by Gee »

Alias wrote: September 12th, 2022, 11:10 pm
Sushan wrote: September 11th, 2022, 9:55 am This practice was included with the intention of protecting the innocent suspects from the questionings by the police which can sometimes be unjust as well as barbaric (a popular secret).
I don't know what 'popular secret' means, but police procedure of that kind very often leads to coerced confession and wrongful conviction. A lot of those people are sentenced to death. This, by me, is not a good thing.
https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/policy-iss ... y-innocent
I agree with most of your post, but wanted to address your link in particular. Many states do not have the death penalty, but reading this link reminded me of an article that I read a few years ago. I wish I knew how to find it again, because I would post it here. Most of us view science as being something that we can trust because it is so accurate, but the article I read was about Texas, which has the death penalty, and about a science lab they were using for DNA testing. Apparently the lab in question through poor training or sloppy procedures was producing results that were found to not be accurate. The people investigating the lab found that it had given doubtful evidence in more than a few cases that had been on death row, and in some cases the results were proven wrong. There was speculation about how many people may have been wrongfully put to death, but the Judicial branch was not willing to open that can of worms.

Thank you for posting the above.

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Re: Miranda warning protects culprits and associates rather than protecting the innocent suspects! Do you agree?

Post by Gee »

Ecurb wrote: September 13th, 2022, 9:15 am Quite clearly, the Miranda warning protects only the very ignorant or very stupid. Anyone of normal intelligence who owns a TV and has watched cop shows knows about the Miranda warning, and knows that he can request a lawyer and that anything he says can be used against him.
Or the very naïve. Most intelligent people understand that TV shows are fantasy -- not real life. In real life, people who follow the rules and are law abiding citizens do not get rousted by the police. If you are innocent, you are not going to be convicted of a crime, or so we think -- but it happens. Innocent statements can be interpreted in a lot of different ways especially if you do not even know what crime is being investigated -- and they don't tell you.

One of my daughter's friends once complained to me that a cop stopped him and did not read him his rights while searching his car and looking for drugs. He was very angry at being so abused and denied his rights (He was 16). I smiled at him and explained that he didn't have any rights. He argued that he had Miranda rights. I explained that Miranda rights are civil rights, so they only apply after a person has reached the age of majority. Before that you have about the same rights as a dog -- to be fed, educated, housed, provided with medical care when needed, etc.

This is why I did not let my children drive until they were 18 years old, because the police know that 16 and 17 year old kids do not have rights. I did not want them to have to deal with traffic cops without me there.
Ecurb wrote: September 13th, 2022, 9:15 am I think it's reasonable to provide mentally handicapped people (the only ones who benefit from the Miranda warning) with the same protections everyone else is already aware of.
This sounds good, but how do you know who is mentally handicapped? There have been too many stories about people, who were handicapped in some way and shot by policemen for not obeying the order to "stop" or "put your hands up" or something like that. My own aunt, who was 76 years old, had a gun pulled on her at the airport because she set off the alarm before boarding the plane, but she did not stop when the security people told her to -- she actually ignored them. My mother, who was with my aunt, kept yelling, "She's deaf." "She's deaf." but no body was listening. I suppose we were lucky that she didn't get shot, or knocked down. Yes, we need every right that a "suspect" can have.

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