Wednesday, December 31, 2008

People v. Bradford (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 29, 2008)

People admittedly watch a lot of television. Including -- and increasingly -- cop shows. So there's no doubt that many suspects already know their Miranda rights if only as a cultural reference point.

Nonetheless, Miranda warnings are not designed to be a game show. Instead of simply reading the rights off the card (for from memory) -- a simple enough task -- the police here instead basically asked the suspect (often rhetorically) which rights he already knew about from television shows. Which I guess is fine (?), so long as he names all four of the relevant warnings. But, like some game shows, if you miss one of the answers, there's no proper Miranda warning, and thus a reversal of any resulting convicion. Which is exactly what happens here.

Let's not get to tricky in the future, okay? Just read 'em their rights. It's really not all that difficult.