….can and will be used against you…. Really? / by kevin murray

Those that have been arrested will in one form of another have to deal with an officer reading them what is known as their "Miranda rights" of which the most frequent recitation that most people are familiar with, perhaps from television, is along the lines of "….Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…" which, is a statement that appears to be not actually true in form.  That is to say, if everything that is said by the suspect, will be used in a court of law, then the usage of can should be dropped, because it is superseded by the word will, but in fact, there probably aren't any cases in which everything that has been said by the arrestee, has actually all been used against that suspect.


In point of fact, how the Miranda rights are read or given to a particular suspect varies by jurisdiction, but the most common form of "… can and will be used against you," is a form that should be modified, and replaced by something that is far more clear and accurate which would be: "Anything you say can and may be used against you in a court of law," which actually not only makes more sense, but properly reflects the reality of the situation.


In the scheme of things, whether the Miranda rights are read as the common "can and will" or as "can and may be" used against the suspect, doesn't invalidate that the appropriate fair warning has been provided to the arrestee, it is just that it is more sensible to reflect how the law and justice system works in actuality and therefore it then makes more sense to reflect that in the words so spoken.  Additionally, the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case, of which we got the aforesaid Miranda rights, this was a momentous Supreme Court decision, which overturned the initial Arizona conviction of Miranda, who thereupon was retried without taking into account his confession, and was subsequently convicted. 


The Miranda case had national repercussions as to the interpretation of the rights of those being arrested in which it became mandated for arrestees to be properly informed of their Constitutional rights, of which the majority Supreme Court opinion made its viewpoint clear, and states in part within that opinion, the words: "… that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law…" which would strongly imply that all those policing agencies within America, at some nationwide conference, should probably get together with an experienced Constitutional attorney to thereby submit what would be the definitive Miranda warning so as to read thus to all suspects a consistently worded Miranda warning utilized throughout the entire United States, reflecting properly that Supreme Court decision.


After all, at some point, if it hasn't already occurred, there will be a case involved in which the words spoken and thereby recorded by the police officer's body camera that has been read to a suspect, has been done in such a sloppy and disjointed manner, that a good lawyer, may be able to reverse a conviction or to preclude the admission of a confession, based on the fact that their client did not have properly read to them and thereby comprehended fully their Constitutional rights as previously adjudicated by that Miranda Supreme Court decision.