The second case review in a row that focuses on Miranda. It does tend to be a popular case.
In this case, Mr. Powell was being charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was arrested and questioned by the police. But before he was questioned he was read his Miranda rights. However, the officers said "You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of our questions" and "you have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during the interview."
As we can guess, Mr. Powell did not invoke his right to talk to an attorney. In addition, Mr. Powell made some statements to the officers that helped to convict him.
On appeal, Mr. Powell argued that his rights were violated because the officers failed to inform him that he also had the right to have an attorney present during the interrogation.
The Supreme Court accepted the case, and (as we have seen in the past) used this opportunity to remind the courts that the exact language of the Miranda warning is not set in stone. Miranda requires that the individual be informed of their rights, but it doesn't give explicit language.
The Supreme Court held that because Mr. Powell was told that he had the right to talk to a lawyer before being questioned, and could invoke that right at any time during the questioning, it was equivalent to telling Mr. Powell that he had the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
This is not so much a ruling that weakens the Miranda rights, but reaffirms the fact that the officers don't have to provide a specific monologue. As we have mentioned before, because this is a United States Supreme Court case, Minnesota has the ability to grant more rights to citizens within the borders
Please remember that the interpretation and analysis presented here is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice please contact us for a free consultation and actual examination the issues that your case may present.
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