The Supreme Court ruled that suspects may not sue police officers for damages when they do not tell them about their right to remain silent even if evidence was used against them in court.
The right to remain silent is part of Miranda warnings, or notification given to a person upon arrest by a police officer. Although Miranda warnings are not a constitutional right it is directly correlated to the Fifth Amendment which protects citizens from self-incrimination.
Derived from the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the Miranda warning is supposed to be administered by an officer upon the arrest of an individual and advise them:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say can be used against you in court
- You have the right to an attorney
-If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided
On Thursday the Court released their decision which does not get rid of Miranda warnings rather it bars individuals from obtaining damages should an officer forget to administer them.
In the majority opinion of Vega v. Tekoh, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that because Miranda warnings are not part of the Constitution, citizens may not sue officers for violations for constitution rights under Section 1983.
So what does this mean for people in the US?
The ruling increases the responsibility of a person to understand and know their rights before being arrested as now officers cannot be held for damages for not administering Miranda rights.
\u201c@cmclymer Quick guide with the Miranda Warning that law enforcement is no longer required to inform about :(\u201d
— Charlotte Clymer \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\u26a7\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Charlotte Clymer \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\u26a7\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6)
In the dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagen wrote, "Today, the Court strips individuals of the ability to seek a remedy for violations of the right recognized in Miranda."
"The point of [Section 1983] is to provide such redress—because a remedy “is a vital component of any scheme for vindicating cherished constitutional guarantees," Kagen added.