SCOTUS: No Special Words Required for Mirada Warning – Florida v. Powell

[02/23/10 – 1:32 pm] In this morning’s United States Supreme Court ruling in Florida v. Powell, the Justices ruled that proving defendants with Miranda warnings does not require the use of any mandatory language or words. In this case, the respondent contended that he was deprived of his proper Miranda rights when the police did not inform him that he had the right to have an attorney present during questioning. The Florida Supreme Court agreed and suppressed his incriminating, post-Miranda statements. However, the Supreme Court reversed this holding and ruled that as “an absolute prerequisite to interrogation,” an individual held for questioning “must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation.” While the warnings prescribed by Miranda are invariable, the Court has not dictated the words in which the essential information must be conveyed.

In determining whether police warnings are satisfactory, reviewing courts are not required to “examine [them] as if construing a will or defining the terms of an easement. The inquiry is simply whether the warnings reasonably ‘conve[y] to [a suspect] his rights as required by Miranda.

Download a copy of Florida v. Powell

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