The nation's 51-year-old Miranda warning should be reworked and modernized because the current version on the books is hindering law enforcement, two noted professors at the University of Utah say.
"Has Miranda handcuffed the cops over the last fifty years? … We believe the best answer is 'yes,'" writes law professor Paul Cassell and economics professor Richard Fowles in their analysis of the criminal procedure rule published in the Boston University Law Review.
"A landmark Supreme Court decision imposing unprecedented restraints on law enforcement made law enforcement less effective … How can one measure a victim's pain when a criminal escapes justice against the benefit of giving that criminal the power to stop questioning?"
Miranda is a warning that must be given to criminal suspects in police custody in which they are told of their right to remain silent before interrogation. If the warning is somehow skipped, anything the suspect says cannot be used against them in court.
Cassel and Fowles say their analysis of law enforcement data from 1950 to 2012, suggests that about 20 percent additional violent crimes and 11.6 percent more property crimes would be solved each year without Miranda. That's because police can't grill suspects in custody unless they agree to it.
One proposal they make is a requirement that all interrogations be videotaped to ease the restrictions Miranda imposes.
The professors say they encourage "the Supreme Court, as well as commentators and policy makers, to consider alternative ways of regulating police interrogation that do not have such detrimental effects on police efforts to apprehend potentially dangerous criminals …"
Strong empirical evidence supports the conclusion that Miranda's unprecedented restrictions on law enforcement has allowed numerous criminals to escape justice. No less than many other controversial social policies, Miranda is not cost free.
"Nor is Miranda the only way to regulate police questioning. It is time for Miranda's defenders to acknowledge these facts and begin a frank discussion about how we can do better."
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