Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The landmark Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona, recognized a defendant's right to be informed of the rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment's self-incrimination clause, including the right to counsel. The Miranda Court realized that a suspect may feel compelled to waive his Fifth Amendment privilege while in official detention. The Court held that the police must read the now-familiar warnings to a subject in custodial interrogation before he can waive his rights. Therefore, the Court in Miranda chose to strike the balance between effective law enforcement and protecting a subject's constitutional rights at the point of informing the subject of his rights, including his right to counsel, once he is under custodial interrogation. The crucial question then and now remains-how does a Fifth Amendment right to counsel protects a subject from this compulsion to confess?