The Supreme Court limits civil rights in criminal cases

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | Civil Liberties |

In a ruling in 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court made some changes to the rights of individuals in criminal situations. When officers place someone under arrest, they have a legal obligation to read them their Miranda rights.

Miranda rights inform about the civil rights a person has, such as the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. The Supreme Court’s ruling specifically addressed the right to remain silent.

An order that changes the situation

People placed under arrest and not given their Miranda rights used to be able to sue officers who then collected evidence from them through interrogation. If that evidence came up at trial and was instrumental in their conviction, these people could use that in their lawsuits.

However, the Supreme Court ruling stated that nobody could sue for not receiving Miranda warnings about the right to remain silent even if the evidence later helped in their convictions.

The importance of the ruling

The ruling is important because it limits civil rights. The U.S. Constitution provides that people have the right to not self-incriminate, which is the basis for the right to remain silent. But with this ruling, the Court is saying that if someone self-incriminates, even unknowingly, it is not the fault of officers.

One note about this ruling is that it does not change evidence laws. If a person spoke to officers openly without receiving Miranda rights, that person’s attorney can still object to such evidence used in the trial, and the judge can throw it out. The ruling simply removes the right to sue for damages.