The Story Behind the Miranda Rights

Ernesto Miranda Talking with Attorney - Ernesto Miranda (r) with attorney John J. Flynn, in 1967 | Location: Phoneix, Arizona, USA. Source: (GettyImages-515098612)

"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 speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

Most people have heard some version of this phrase, even if it was just on one of the many procedural dramas on television, though some may have more hands-on experience with it. Some of those people will recognize this phrase as the “Miranda Rights” which police officers must “read” to suspects before being allowed to interrogate them. What most people don’t know is that the person to thank for this requirement was a career criminal and convicted rapist.

Ernesto Arturo Miranda was born on March 9, 1941, in Mesa, Arizona. He had problems with authority at an early age, often at odds with his father and stepmother. His problems with the law began in eighth grade and in ninth grade, he was convicted of burglary and had to spend a year in the Arizona State Industrial School for Boys. In 1956, only a month after being released from reform school, he broke the law again and had to return.