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 be speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense. Do you understand? - Miranda Rights

Well, do you? Do you know that you don't have to speak to the police until an attorney like myself, is present? That's what the Miranda Rights are for. Unlike on NYPD Blue, an excellent TV show by the way, cops don't always read you your Miranda Rights. In fact, there's this new tactic being taught to police officers. You could call it the good cop-good cop method of interrogation.

Say you're a child molester, like, what's his face, Michael Whateveh, and that officer being you're best friend, offering you a soda, asking you if you're feeling a little nervous or scared, getting you to feel all cozy with him, is actually you're biggest enemy. He's gonna get you to admit to some stuff by playing a sympathetic understanding pal, know what I'm saying? He'll tell you that all this stuff you're talking about isn't admissible in court because he hasn't read you your rights, so he's pretending to be like a priest, help you get this stuff you're guilty of off your chest. Then, he'll read you your Miranda Rights, turn on the tape recorder, and then he'll nail you and get you to confess to anything he wants you to confess to. It's a pretty nifty strategy. It's also causing a lot of stress for defense attorneys and the Supreme Court.

The Miranda Rights came about after Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). No, Miranda is not some hot chick caught shoplifting, it's Ernesto Miranda, a guy that got arrested for stealing $8.00 in Arizona back in 1963. This guy Miranda got taken into custody, started talking and wouldn't shut up. The idiot ended up confessing to a crime of rape that happened a few days previously. Now, if this genius Miranda had had an attorney with him, which by the way, wasn't offered to him by the police because there were no rules, so to speak, for suspects at that time, he would have been told to zip his pie hole and not get the police all hot and bothered over this other crime, know what I'm saying?

Now the Supreme Court is having to sorta redefine Miranda so the cops can't work around it like they're doing now. There will be four cases heard this year all dealing with Miranda and the rights of a suspect. Two of them were heard in December, 2003, United States v. Samuel F. Patane No. 02-1183 and State of Missouri v. Patrice Seibert No. 02-1371. Just remember, when you get arrested, ask for an attorney and then shut up.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. - Fourth Amendment, Search and Seizure

Listen, when you're pulled over for speeding or a broken tail light, and out of nowhere Mr. CHiPs On A Motorcycle wants to look through your car, don't let him. Tell the nosy bastard you have "a right to refuse." What we defense attorneys like to call this type of action by a police officer is "a fishing expedition," and this happens all the time.

Say you're a single mother living in, I don't know, Texas. Your ex-husband is hooked on speed and a deadbeat, you got no income, and some guy offers you $500 to be a "mule," a drug courier. It's quick and easy cash. All you got to do is drive to Mexico and back to Texas. Now, let's say you're driving back, you've already crossed the border, you're feeling a little nervous, and you accidentally didn't turn on your left blinker when you were making a turn. Cop sees it, pulls you over because he has "probable cause" to believe you made a traffic violation, and he gives you a warning or a ticket. That's all well and good. Now he decides he wants to search your car. Doesn't say what for. Doesn't give any reason for why he wants to search it. You can tell him to go take a hike because he doesn't have "reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity." This came from a case called Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1, 21-22 (1968). And, remember, only bring this up if the cop brings it up. Don't be blurting out he can't search your car because that only creates suspicion. Okay?

If you are arrested and are in custody, your arraignment must occur within 48 hours of your arrest; however, if you are arrested on a weekend, you may be held for additional time.

Well, this is a federal law. Some states, particularly those in the South, may be a little indifferent to how long they lock you up without an arraignment. Speaking of, let me address what this whole arraignment thing is about. This is when you get to shuffle into the courtroom handcuffed and wearing one of those attractive little orange zipped-up-the-front, one-piece outfits. You tell the Judge whether you're guilty or not guilty of the charges put against you. You see these things on the news and TV shows all the time. And, remember to say, "Your Honor." Show the robe some respect, y'know what I mean? It goes a long way.

Now you kids out there that like to drink and drive, be careful because I cannot tell you how many times the police will haul you're butt into jail on a Friday night and keep you there all weekend, all the way through Monday, even Tuesday. We're talking 48 hours, not including the weekend. You'll sober up but you'll also miss school. And like I always say, an educated fool is better than an uneducated one.

-Special reporting by Carolyn D. Thurmond.

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