Death of Ernesto Miranda

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NBC Nightly News
John Hart/Carl Stern
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Ernesto Miranda, the plaintiff in one of the most famous Supreme Court cases of all time, Arizona v. Miranda, dies after a bar room brawl. Ironically, his accused assailant is read his Miranda warnings when arrested.



"Death of Ernesto Miranda." Carl Stern, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 31 Jan. 1976. NBC Learn. Web. 11 January 2020.


Stern, C. (Reporter), & Hart, J. (Anchor). (1976, January 31). Death of Ernesto Miranda. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"Death of Ernesto Miranda" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 01/31/1976. Accessed Sat Jan 11 2020 from NBC Learn:


Death of Ernesto Miranda

JOHN HART, anchor:

Ernesto Miranda is dead. He was a kidnapper and a rapist, and he mattered because he gave his name to a Supreme Court decision that mattered a great deal. Here’s a report from Carl Stern.

CARL STERN, reporting:

Miranda was stabbed to death in an argument over less than three dollars during a card game last night at a neighborhood bar in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 35 years old. The man, who gave his name to a generation of controversy about the Supreme Court, had been in trouble since he was 17. Arrested 14 times for things such as auto theft, narcotics, armed robbery, rape and kidnapping. He was last arrested two years ago on a gun charge, later dropped, and had been free ever since.

The decision bearing Miranda’s name was announced 10 years ago this month. One man was arrested last night for Miranda’s stabbing, and immediately he was given the so called Miranda warnings.

Miranda, a rape and kidnapping suspect, had been held incommunicado by police until he confessed, the sort of thing the Supreme Court said would not of happened to someone rich enough to call his lawyer. So the Court laid down several rules, that a suspect must be told of his right to remain silent, and to have a lawyer, free if need be. The suspect also should be told that what he says can be used against him. Only if the suspect knowingly and intelligently waives his right to be silent can the confession be used.

Police claim they were being handcuffed, later that furor died down. That was because most people who want to confess do so anyway, and in many cities conviction rates actually went up.

Supreme court expert Philip Kurland says today the Miranda impact was symbolic rather than real.

PHILIP KURLAND (Supreme Court Expert): I don’t think the result is real, I don’t think the warnings given in that form really advise an accused of his rights. Nor do I think that we’ve lost any convictions as a result of a failure to give those warnings.

STERN: Professor Fred Inbau enthusiastically supports police efforts to get confessions. He thinks the results of the Miranda rule have been more damaging.

FRED INBAU (Professor): The tragedy of it is that there are many, many guilty people who have been turned lose because after receiving the warnings they did not talk to the police, and absent some statement of an incriminating nature, the prosecution did not have adequate evidence to prove guilty without reasonable doubt.

STERN: The Supreme Court did not turn anyone free. Miranda was retried and convicted without the confession. Since then, the Berger Court has whittled around the edges of the Miranda rule. But the principle itself, that poor people should be told they have the same rights rich people have, is not likely to disappear from our law. Carl Stern, NBC News, Washington.