U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Florida in Miranda Case

U.S. Supreme Court
A 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court restores the conviction of a Tampa man.
TALLAHASSEE (2010-2-23) -

The U.S. Supreme Court approved a Florida version of the Miranda rights warning on Tuesday. The court’s decision is the first of several it will make this year clarifying what the Miranda rule requires police to do.

The Florida Supreme Court had overturned the conviction of Kevin Dwyane Powell, ruling police did not explicitly tell him he had a right to a lawyer. Tampa detectives questioned Powell after he signed a statement saying he understood he had a right to talk to a lawyer at any time during “this interview.”

A 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court restores the conviction. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, writing for the majority said that Powell was given enough information.

Justice John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer disagreed. Stevens wrote that the Florida warning did not implicitly inform Powell of his right to have a lawyer with him at all times during interrogation.

The Miranda rule requires police to tell suspects they have the right to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer represent them, even if they can’t afford one.

The court has two more Miranda decisions pending, including whether officers can interrogate a suspect who said he understood his rights but didn't invoke them.

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