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Dialogue Approach to Miranda Warnings and Waiver

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 49 Issue: 3 Dated: Summer 2012 Pages: 1437-1491
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson
Date Published
55 pages
This article proposes a new dialogue approach for use by police officers when mirandizing suspects.
This article examines the problems resulting from disputed waivers of a suspect's Miranda rights, and proposes a new dialogue approach for police officers to use in these situations. The new approach requires suspects to "confirm their understanding of the rights and consequences of the waiver by restating the rights in their own words at the time of the interrogation." The approach also has a second part, a brief discussion between police officers and suspects about the purpose of rights and the roles of both the police and the suspect in the upcoming interrogation. By instituting this two-way approach, police officers gain the tools necessary to determine whether suspects really understand their constitutional rights. The article discusses recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding core Miranda principles that deal with the right against self-incrimination, and the need for suspects to fully understand the essential message of Miranda. Following a review of research detailing support for the new dialogue approach, the author presents the actual dialogue from the interrogation of a vulnerable suspect. The dialogue is presented in order to show the benefits of the new approach. While the new dialogue approach to Miranda warnings has many benefits, it also has some problems. The article discusses these problems which include both logistical and legal issues. These issues include identification of vulnerable suspects, suppression of confessions, and distortion of research findings resulting from non-scientists (police) using actual scientific tests in police procedures.