Dialogue on Miranda: Is Miranda a Real-World Failure? A Plea for More (and Better) Empirical Evidence
14 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2011
Date Written: February 1, 1996
The opinions in Miranda v. Arizona made assumptions, implicitly or explicitly, about the effect of its warnings-and-waiver regime on the rate at which suspects answer police questions. In the first decade following Miranda, several studies sought to measure its empirical effect. But by the mid-1970s, the issue of Miranda’s real-world effect faded into the background. One purpose of this essay is to revive that issue. While the empirical effect might no longer be important in the debate about Miranda, it would shed light on how suspects and the police perceive the pressures of interrogation. A second purpose of the essay is to examine the flaws of the original studies with an eye toward an improved second generation. The essay concludes that the available evidence does not demonstrate an empirical effect large enough to measure. It also offers conjectures about why Miranda might lack a measurable effect.
Keywords: Miranda v. Arizona, Miranda effect, rate of confessions and Miranda ,Miranda symbolism,Police attitude toward interrogation
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