Miranda Rights in the U.S.
A Miranda warning is a criminal procedure rule that law enforcement must make in order to protect you from a violation of your Fifth Amendment right against induced self-incrimination. However, in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins, the Court held that unless a suspect actually states that he is relying on this right, his subsequent voluntary statements can be used in court and police can continue to interrogate the said person. The Fifth Amendment right is the right to remain silent, the right to refuse to answer questions, or to otherwise communicate information. Therefore, before any interview takes place the suspect must be advised:
They have the right to remain silent. Anything the suspect says can be used against them.
They have the right to have an attorney present before and during the questioning.
They have the right, if they can’t afford an attorney, to have an attorney appointed at public expense to represent them before and during the questioning.
The law in Canada
Equivalent rights exist in Canada consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The right to silence is protected under section 7 and section 11(c). The accused may not be compelled as a witness against themselves in criminal proceedings, and therefore only voluntary statements made to police are admissible as evidence. Under the Charter, an arrested person also has the right:
To be informed promptly of the reasons.
To retain and instruct counsel without delay and be informed of that right.
To have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
The law in the European Union
Known as The Reding Rights, those suspected of a criminal offense must receive information about their basic rights during criminal proceedings. These are that they have the right:
To a lawyer.
To be informed of the charge.
To interpret and translate for those who do not understand the language of the proceedings.
To remain silent and to be brought promptly before a court following arrest.
They are also informed that:
They will be given a letter spelling out their rights in writing.
The letter of rights will be easy to understand, without legal jargon. It will be made available in a language the suspect understands.
It will contain practical details about the person’s rights.
Know Your Rights
Habeous corpus was conceived to protect against tyranny and the abuse of the judicial system and is Latin for “you may have the body.” It is a writ that requires a person detained by the authorities to be brought before a court of law so that the legality of the detention may be examined. The act was passed by the English Parliament in 1679, but the first recorded use of the principle was in 1305. However, other writs with the same effect appear to precede the English Magna Carta of 1215. Although rarely used nowadays, it can be demanded by anyone who believes they are unlawfully detained and without it, you can be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. Habeas corpus rights have been gradually eroded and weakened for over a decade now and the U.S. Patriot Act is just one of the latest efforts to chip away at it.
The first person to be convicted of selling cannabis
Samuel R. Caldwell was the first person convicted of selling cannabis under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. On the very same day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted (Oct. 2, 1937) the FBI and Denver, Colorado police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed laborer and his alleged customer. Caldwell became the first-ever cannabis seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer was found guilty of possession. Samuel R. Caldwell sold three cannabis cigarettes and was sentenced to 4 years of hard labor at Leavenworth Penitentiary, in addition to a $1,000 fine. Caldwell was incarcerated in 1937, at age 58, and released in 1940 at age 60. He died one year after his release.