The Supreme Court decided recently that people cannot sue police officers for failing to read them their Miranda rights before questioning.
In 1966, the Miranda warning became a constitutional rule that the Supreme Court created to protect people’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and 6th Amendment right to counsel.
Miranda requires police officers to issue the following warning before questioning suspects:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
While law enforcement is welcome to do more to ensure people’s constitutional rights are protected, it cannot do less without violating their constitutional rights.
This Vega decision does not change the fact that police are still required to read suspects a Miranda warning before questioning them and, if they don’t, the prosecution will still be barred from using any self-incriminating statements that were compelled by the police at trial. What the Vega holding affects is the right to sue the police under Section 1983 for failing to read a Miranda warning before questioning.
This ruling gives police additional qualified immunity.