Downand Dirty Justice
Thejudicial system has various characteristics that the public cannotforce into attention without the help of either people who work inthe system or those who have been through painful experiences in thesystem. Most of the rights that individuals get from the Constitutionand other federal acts are at risk of being broken by the variousinstruments that work towards a just society. Schilling puts thestate of Arizona into focus by discussing the relationships thatexists between the citizens and the parties that enforce justice. Hedetails the relationship that exists between the prosecutors andpolice departments, and he demystifies it to reveal the fact that ithas a lot of patches that are note noticeable from a citizen’spoint of view. He also draws the characteristics that are dominant inattorneys, prosecutors and public defenders (Lowenthal, 2003).
Helooks at the police system and their effective processes andcriticizes some of their outright actions that contravene the rightsof citizens. Sometimes, they override their mandate to exercisediscretion that is inconsistent with their jurisdiction. The commoncitizen, however, cannot act against the virtual rules. Of importancein this account are the Miranda rights and police investigatingtechniques. This paper will discuss the two by drawing conclusionsfrom schilling’s influential position in terming the judicialsystem as down and dirty (Lowenthal, 2003).
Duringthe arrest of a suspect, police officers should give the Mirandawarning to the suspect. Under the Miranda provision, the suspect hasa right to remain silent when in the custody of the police until whenthe interrogation begin. It helps suspects to avoid incriminatorystatements that are applicable against them in a court of law.Schilling puts emphasis on this provision by citing the observableloopholes that give the police an upper hand against a suspect whodoes not get information on his rights. In 1996, the state of Arizonareached a conclusion that every suspect has a right to remain silentuntil when they get legal counsel. However, the state passed thatinculpatory and exculpatory statement will support or work againstthe suspects. It happens when there is proof that there was a totalacquaintance of the Miranda rights through information from thepolice (Lowenthal, 2003).
TheMiranda rights may be subject to contravention by the police officerswho do not give suspects all the details of the proceedings. Theyshould be abreast from the time they arrest them to the time theystart collecting details meant to stage a trial (Lowenthal, 2003).The case of Seiberg vs. Missouri is a practical example of how asuspect can incriminate himself. They may not be aware of thejuncture in which the information they give ends into the list of thestatement meant to for presentation in a court of law. Policeofficers will question a suspect without any information abouthis/her rights to remain silent and then inform them of their rightsunder the Miranda provision. A consequent questioning after this willlikely yield different results, and the suspect is likely to giveinformation that does not agree with their first statement (Friedman,2010).
Theresolution of the court to strike down the practice of obtaininginadmissible evidence from a suspect prior to informing them o theright to remain silent was in order since doing so incapacitated theprovision. According to the court’s ruling, confession is onlyadmissible if the initial Miranda warnings were objective and clear.Siebert found herself with two sets of incriminating confessions andthe court found her guilty of second-degree murder. The mereknowledge that the confession will be applicable as evidence in courtwill make a suspect measure his/her words. He can also stop talkingat any juncture if he had given prior information (Friedman, 2010).
Policeofficers, therefore, should not compel individuals to continuetalking if they had done so before issuing the Miranda warning.Schilling found himself in such a situation, but his knowledge of theMiranda provision acted as ground to refuse further questioning bypolice officers who had not informed him of his rights initially. Asuspect without an informed background will fall into this trap andhelp the police to make an early conclusion based on hisincriminatory confessions.
Theprocess of police interrogations may have unpredictable turns thatmay be legally acceptable though questionable. Police will rarelycollect all the information they require at once. They are likely tocome back to the suspect several times (Lowenthal, 2003). All thisholds legally, but it may result in giving contradicting informationfrom the one that a suspect gives initially. The technique may bevery objective in building a case or detecting any instances ofuntruthfulness in the information given by the suspect. Although thiscan work well for the police officers, it may put the suspect in avulnerable position since the police may repeat the same questionsthey asked in a prior session.
Anothercommon technique of interrogation is that the sessions last for along time even up to six hours (Lowenthal, 2003). It is worth notingthat interrogators may ask a stream of questions just to keep asuspect talking. When suspects continue talking about every detail oftheir case, the police can pick lies and inconsistencies or find thetruth in the confession. The objective of this approach is to havethe suspect talk about everything they know including repeating someconfessions. It is likely that the police might ask questions thathave no direct relationship with the offense committed by the suspect(Kassin & McNall, 1991). However, the suspect is likely to relatedistant issues with some specific aspects of the offense. Using awide approach helps the police to close in and extract the finerdetails. Suspects without this knowledge find themselvescontradicting their previous assertions with the finer details oftheir case.
Almostall the information given by a suspect during interrogation ends upin a court a court of law as admissible evidence. The purpose ofhaving the suspect talk for long hours is to triangulate theinformation they give and check on any varying answers to the samequestion. Therefore, it is very imperative to be consistent with theinformation given lest it becomes incriminatory.
Conclusively,the justice system in Arizona and other states have questionableapproaches that are not very clear to the citizens. The system isalways at risk of contravention when the instruments that enforce thelaw for example police officers spot some gaps. The biggest source ofthe citizen’s vulnerability is the lack of information on theirrights and the privileges accorded to them by the law. The policeshould make the Miranda law clear when arresting a suspect. Also, theinterrogation techniques should not work towards buildingincriminating statements.
Friedman,B. (2010). Wages of Stealth Overruling (with Particular Attention toMiranda v. Arizona), The. Geo.LJ,99,1.
Kassin,S. M., & McNall, K. (1991). Police interrogations andconfessions: Communicating promises and threats by pragmaticimplication. Lawand Human Behavior,15(3),233.
Lowenthal,G. (2003). : A Chilling Journey into the DarkWorld of Crime and the Criminal Courts. New Jersey NJ.: New Horizonpress.