Evidence is a critical component of the case since it proves whether the crime in question has taken place or whether the accused person is guilty or innocent of the same. Apart from evidence, there is also a question of its admissibility in the court of law. This eligibility depends on the nature of facts or the procedure used by prosecutor to obtain evidence. Regarding the above statement, the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment of the United States respectively prohibit the use of coercion to obtain evidence and provide the right to legal assistance for every accused person regardless of the case in question. This paper aims at summarizing three United States Supreme Court Cases, namely Miranda v. Arizona, 1966, Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963, and Marbury v. Madison, 1803 to explore their respective backgrounds, verdicts, and rationality of the rulings as well as the impact on the rule of evidence.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
The case originated from Ernesto Miranda's arrest in March 1963 by the Phoenix Police after indirect evidence had linked him to a kidnap of a young woman some days earlier. In the course of interrogation, Miranda made a confession that implicated him in the crime. However, the police did not brief Miranda about his right to remain silent or that he was eligible for legal representation as provided for by the law.
In the court, Mirandas attorney Alvin Moore argued in vain against the use of self-confession as evidence. The jury sentenced the suspect to serve 20 years in jail, and this prompted an appeal in the Arizona Supreme Court, whereby the panel affirmed the lower court's decision. Miranda further appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The presiding judge Chief Justice Warren argued that testimonies in the form of self-incrimination were invalid, as stated in the Fifth Amendment, and that the suspect had a right to counsel, as indicated in the Sixth Amendment, unless the accused individual opted to forfeit the right to legal representation. Therefore, the court overturned the earlier ruling by the provisions of the two laws.
Rationality of the Verdict
The judgment was realistic as the Chief Justice acknowledged that the lower courts had disregarded the Fifth and Sixth Amendments that prohibited the use of self-incrimination as a basis for evidence and outlawed the denial of the right to legal counsel respectively. I agree with the court's verdict since the police did not inform Miranda of his rights, as guaranteed by law, and they solely relied on self-confession as the evidence. Thus, the verdict presented before the court was inadmissible.
Importance of the Verdict in the Rule of Evidence
The ruling significantly influenced the standard of proof because it compelled the police officers to inform the accused of their right to remain silent as well as have a legal representative before the interrogation could begin. The decision also made it clear that the evidence in the form of self-confession was not acceptable. Therefore, the case clarified to the prosecutors that they had to prove the facts of the case before the court.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
The case was based on a burglary incident in the Panama City, Florida in 1961. The culprit was unknown, but a witness had testified seeing Gideon leaving the place with money and wine. Based on the testimony alone, the police arrested Gideon and initiated charges against him. The suspect could not afford to hire a lawyer, and thus, he appeared in court alone.
Verdict in the Case
Gideon pleaded for a state agent, but the jury had declined to argue that a state lawyer participated in capital cases only and that Gideons was a non-capital case. The case earned Gideon a five-year jail term despite his plea of innocence. He appealed to the United States Supreme Court claiming the right to counsel. The United States Supreme Court, lead by Justice Black Hugo, heard the matter on March 18, 1963. In his verdict, Hugo reversed the earlier decision and stated that the Sixth Amendment did not distinguish between capital and non-capital offenses. Therefore, the case gave Gideon a reprieve.
Rationality of the Verdict
Justice Hugo was right to reverse the ruling of the lower court because the judge had disregarded the professional and legal requirements while deciding the case. The court had an obligation to appoint a lawyer to represent Gideon, but the judge had done the contrary. The ruling of the Supreme Court redressed the injustice the lower court had orchestrated towards the defendant, and therefore, I fully support the court decision.
Significance of the Verdict in the Rule of Evidence
It is a duty of the lawyer of the accused to fight for the client through defending his/her innocence as well as questioning the evidence brought to court. Denying the accused the right to legal counsel may work as a loophole for bringing inadmissible evidence to court because the defendant may not have the proper knowledge of the law to argue against the evidence presented. Therefore, the court compelled the lower courts to provide legal counsel to all suspects, and thus, the development sealed the loophole for using inadmissible evidence in court.
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Marbury v. Madison was a case during a power transition stage from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s in the United States. Before Adams could retire from office, Congress had passed the Judiciary Act 1801. The law led to the establishment of additional 10 district courts, 3 circuit courts, and a new addition of judges to occupy the positions. However, some of the appointed judges could not report to their duties due to some obstacles that made it hard to deliver their commissions before Adams retirement. When Jefferson cane to power in 1801, he barred the delivery of the remaining boards arguing that they were illegal. The move prevented Marbury and other new judges from reporting to work.
To claim his right for the new position, Marbury filed a case to the United States Supreme Court. The court argued that he had right to his commission, but it could not compel the government to deliver the commission due to the lack of jurisdiction. Thus, the decision by the presiding judge destroyed Marbury's dream of occupying his new office.
Justification for the Ruling
The court's decision was desirable, as the president of the tribunal had considered the limitations of the law. In so doing, the judge depicted that he could not use his discretion to decide a case contrary to the provisions of the law. I support the court verdict because the presiding jury acted in a professional way as he had realized that he could only work within the law.
Significance of the Verdict to the Rule of Evidence
The verdict had a significant impact on the standard of evidence. The court manifested the idea that judges had to deliver judgments based on evidence or the legal principles. The decision is a source of guidance to other judges that they must decide cases when they have evidence that the law allows them to handle the case in question.
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Conclusively, the evidence is a vital aspect in every case. In Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court had ruled that self-confession was not admissible as evidence in the court. The decision is rational because the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right of a suspect to remain silent. The case barred judges from using self-confession. In Gideon v. Wainwright, the court ruled that the right to legal counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment applied to all cases. The ruling was rational because it prohibited judges from selectively implementing the right to a lawyer in cases. It also influenced the rule of evidence as it made it easier to question the admissibility of the provided testimony. In Marbury v. Madison, the court ruled out that it had no jurisdiction over the matter. The judgment was rational, as the presiding jury had demonstrated adherence to legal principles. The impact on the rule of evidence was that the judge had made it known that judges were to have evidence that law allowed them to make decisions on a given matter. Thus, the above-mentioned cases mark a turning point to the rule of evidence.