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June marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most praised, most maligned-and probably one of the most misunderstood-U.S. Supreme Court cases in American history, Miranda v. Arizona. The opinion by Chief Justice Earl Warren conditions police questioning of people in custody on the giving of warnings about the right to remain silent, the right to counsel and the waiver of those rights. 384 U.S. 436. This ruling represents a compromise of sorts between the former elusive, ambiguous and subjective voluntariness/totality-of-the-circumstances test and extreme proposals that would have eliminated police interrogation altogether. But William H. Rehnquist didn't see Miranda that way. Indeed, even before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Rehnquist viewed the landmark confession case as a big mistake.


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