Our Miranda Rights - Everything about Miranda Rights by Dr.Bethel Erastus-Obilo



The defendant does not always want to have a confession suppressed. Woodward was arrested for attempting to murder his girlfriend’s unarmed husband.79 After his arrest, Woodward confessed to shooting the victim, but said he acted in self-defense. Woodward never moved to suppress his confession. He wanted the State to use it at trial, so the jury could hear how it was self-defense. The victim testified he was unarmed, standing on his own porch, when Woodward shot him from the sidewalk. An eye-witness corroborated the victim’s testimony. The State rested without even mentioning Woodward’s confession to the jury. Having no other way to tell his self-defense story, Woodward testified. The prosecutor's cross-examination revealed glaring discrepancies between Woodward's trial testimony, and his confession to the police.

Although Woodward never sought to suppress his confession before trial, when the State offered the confession to impeach him, he tried to have it suppressed. The Judge declined to hear the suppression motion, ruling that even if there was a Miranda violation, the jury could still hear the confession to impeach the trial testimony. Woodward was convicted of attempted murder.

Clearly, the debate over the impact of Miranda will continue. Whether the Supreme Court’s decision is good or bad for law enforcement depends on a number of issues that touch our criminal justice system and to a large extent, a tough balancing act of upholding the criminal law while respecting civil liberties.

79 Case #95-28792 CFA (Brevard County, Florida)

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Last updated on March 3, 2019

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