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Miranda Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

I don’t think Miranda means what you think it means.

I am sick to death of listening to people who have no freakin’ clue what they are talking about, go on and on about how reading someone their Miranda warning means they won’t give you actionable intelligence.

Please shut up now.

I’m going to explain this to you very slowly and I won’t use any big words, so listen up:

A Miranda warning is merely a reminder of list of rights that an arrestee has.  The person arrested ALREADY HAS THESE RIGHTS upon arrest. The reading of the warning does not confer the rights upon the arrestee.

The Miranda warning is merely a reminder of what those rights are. Getting arrested is a traumatic event and many people completely panic and their mind goes blank.  The reminder helps them to remember that they actually have these rights. Also, some people who are new to this great nation do not realize that they, too, have these rights when they are arrested within the United States, so it may be new information to them.

Reading someone their Miranda rights does not necessarily make them stop talking, nor does it mean that interrogators cannot go back again and again with more questions. Anybody who tells you otherwise is incredibly ignorant or just plain lying.

An arrestee can refuse to speak at any point, before or after being read their Miranda rights. Likewise, they can continue to speak AFTER being read their rights. Most do.

An arrestee’s request for a lawyer is the ONLY thing that limits an interrogation; the arrestee can make this request before or after being read their rights.  Once the person asks for a lawyer, interrogation must cease until the lawyer arrives, but may resume thereafter if the lawyer consents; arrestees’ lawyers often consent because it’s in their client’s best interest to cooperate.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened with underwear bomber; his lawyer consented to his telling the FBI what he knows. In fact, you’d be surprised how often the defense lawyer’s presence HELPS to get someone to talk; the defense lawyer explains to his client why it is in the client’s best interest to cooperate and gives the client the confidence that the interrogation is not some scam.

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Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril is a former Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York under several different U.S. Attorneys, former counsel to the Inspector General for the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection where she investigated threats to the New York City water supply and other environmental crimes, as well as public corruption and fraud against the government, former Examining Attorney at the N.Y.C. Department of Investigation and former Capital Construction Counsel at New York City Parks and Recreation.
She is now in private practice with a colleague whom she met while at the USA Attorney's Office. Ms. Kouril is a member of the Steering Committee, National Committeewoman and Regional Coordinator for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a member of the Program Committee of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the Election Law Committee at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is active in several other Bar Associations.
Most important of all, she is a soccer mom.