These are familiar words today to most Americans largely because they have
permeated popular consciousness through countless recitations in films and
television shows. But do those who hear these words through TV and movies,
and those who might not have that privilege, realize the import of such
statements in regards to a person’s constitutional rights?
This year the American Bar Association-sponsored Law Day theme was Miranda: More Than Words, which marked the 50th anniversary of one of the nation’s best-known U.S. Supreme Court cases, Miranda v. Arizona. The result of the ruling in Miranda—which stated, in part, that all those arrested must be informed of their constitutional rights to stay silent and have an attorney represent them—afforded procedural protections to all of us by the U.S. Constitution, spelled out safeguards to protect these rights and illustrated why the preservation of these principles is essential to our basic liberty.
"Miranda reinforces our fundamental commitment to preserving individual liberties and rights by establishing that—even in custody—all individuals retain critical rights and the police must work within these rights during an interrogation," said Litchfield Superior Court Judge Rupal Shah in her Law Day address before a standing room only crowd in the stately old courtroom at the historic Litchfield Superior Courthouse.
"Even when the state is pursuing interests as important as criminal justice and public safety, Miranda furthers our commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law," Judge Shah said in closing.
Bar Associations and other organizations around Connecticut sponsored numerous events celebrating Law Day, which is officially May 1st, but because it occurred on a Sunday this year, the celebrations were scattered throughout the week prior and the week following May Day.