Ezhan Hasan 2016-05-30 15:44:11
MIRANDA more than words 2016 CONTEST WINNERS FIRST PLACE — KINDERGARTEN TO SECOND GRADE POSTER Lexie Cowan Meador Elementary Houston Bar Association FIRST PLACE — THIRD TO FIFTH GRADE POSTER Valerie Delarosa Obadiah Knight Elementary Dallas Bar Association FIRST PLACE — NINTH TO 12TH GRADE POSTER Linda Yates Young Women’s Leadership Academy Bexar County Women’s Bar Association FIRST PLACE — SIXTH TO EIGHTH GRADE POSTER Summer Pham Odom Academy Jefferson County Bar Association FIRST PLACE — PHOTOGRAPHY Jessica Bang Incarnate Word Academy Corpus Christi Bar Association LAW DAY EDITORIAL Miranda Rights and Wrongs The winning Law Day editorial explores the history of due process for criminal suspects. Imagine you are a commoner in Massachusetts in the late 17th century. You tend to your own business and are pretty successful at avoiding conflict with anyone. Well, that is except for the one neighbor who thinks you don’t sing loudly enough at church, your business rival who envies your recent success, and the old woman down the street who feels the mole on your face is a “bad omen.” One of these people has just accused you of witchcraft, an accusation that comes with public shaming and possibly the gallows if you are proven guilty. Fortunately, there is a trial: all you have to do is fail to survive being dumped in a body of water or show that being repeatedly stabbed by needles causes you to bleed profusely. In the process of proving your innocence, you may lose your life; but hey, who said anything about a fair trial? It was atrocities such as the Salem witch trials that the founders of our nation wished to eradicate by including in the Sixth Amendment provisions that ensure fairness in all criminal prosecution procedures. Unfortunately, that did not prevent President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the midst of World War II from ordering all those of Japanese ancestry into internment camps on the basis that they were potentially spies. Neither did it prevent Senator Joseph McCarthy from leading the silencing of opponents by simply accusing them of being communist in the Second Red Scare of the early Cold War era. Even today, suspected terrorists are subject to brutal interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay, and a man can be choked to death by a police officer without being accused of a crime. We clearly haven’t and still don’t practice fairness in all criminal prosecutions, and it begs the question: Is there any value in truly acting on the words of the Constitution and the decision in Miranda v. Arizona? Absolutely. What the historical examples of injustice have in common is an apology a few years later, in which the governing body attempts to provide reparations to those who were wronged. Here’s what we realize every single time: treating suspects as criminals is valuing our assumptive fears over justice. And every single time, we regret doing so. Furthermore, even those who are ultimately guilty of a crime deserve to be heard. Think about it: Though we consider Rosa Parks to be a hero today, her action of refusing to give up her seat on a bus was in conflict with the Jim Crow laws. Providing her and other actors of civil disobedience the right to fairly tell their side of the story gives society the opportunity to change potentially unjust laws or at least combat factors that lead to repeated violation of laws. Above all, we should provide due justice to those suspected of wrongdoing because we must draw the line between suspicion and conviction. Until there is clear evidence of vice, then a suspect is as virtuous as any free member of society. To see the full list of contest winners, go to texasbar.com/lawday.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Law+Day+2016/2498122/306771/article.html.