Police Need Not Use “Magic Words” When Giving Miranda Rights

In Florida v Powell, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Police need not stick to a script when providing a suspect with Miranda rights. In Powell, the police provided the defendant with his rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution, but did not do so in the exact words proscribed in the Miranda holding. Nonetheless, the defendant was advised, and apparently adequately so.

The Court stated in its holding,  ” This advice is admirably informative, but we decline to declare its precise formulation.” To make this more clear, the Court was more concerned with the quality of the advisement as opposed to its exact structure. Although the Court acknowledged the ofttimes chaotic and confusing setting that an arrest and custodial environment may present, it discounted the defendant’s claim that minor variations in the presentation of Miranda warranted the suppression of his statement.

Accordingly, as long the police provide a coherent presentation of the defendant’s important rights –  the right to remain silent, that anything you say can be used against you,  the right to have a lawyer present , and if you cant’s afford one, to have one appointed by the Court – the standard will be met. The opinion stated that the real standard is  whether the warnings reasonably convey to a suspect his rights as required by Miranda.