Miranda - Complications Ensue
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It occurs to me that generations of Miranda warnings on TV have probably negated the value of the actual warning. I bet most people hear "you have the right to remain silent" and think "I've been arrested" instead of "I should probably shut the hell up then."

I also wonder how many people watching in Europe and Canada assume that they have the same rights -- assume without really thinking about it.

And I wonder what it means to people in, say, Korea or Japan? Does the Miranda warning insidiously promote American values? Or is it just a cool thing that cops get to say?

It would be fun to do a survey in Egypt and see how many people can recite the Miranda rights from memory.

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5 Comments:

I can only recite anecdotal evidence from Finland, but based on it I'd say you're onto something: people gather most of their knowledge of the law from the media, so when much of what you consume is American, the Miranda Rights start to feel natural.

By Blogger Olli Sulopuisto, at 12:08 PM  

And yet... American cop shows have such disdain for suspects who "lawyer up." I wonder if Americans who grow up watching cop shows don't internalize that disdain, even if they're on the wrong side of an investigation interview.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 5:01 PM  

Of course, even in the U.S., you don't have a right to remain silent unless you break your silence and verbally assert that you're exercising your right to remain silent, so the Miranda Warning itself isn't entirely accurate.

By Blogger Ryan Paige, at 8:04 PM  

At least in the UK we have so many of our own Police shows that our equivalent of Miranda is a regular feature on TV.

I'm far more concerned by the crimes that are portrayed. There are so many shows that are populated with weird crimes (CSI, NCIS, Numbers etc in the US and Luther, Waking the Dead etc in the UK) along with the number of serial killers / murders who are masterminds just astonishes me. The shows are dressed in realist look but not the crimes. First it has to alter the publics perception of crime (lots of older people are afraid when they are actually at the lowest risk). Secondly the shows are trapped on an escalator where they have to be come more weird to differentiate themselves. I wonder if a show where the Police actually tackled a few relatively easily solved domestic murders or some crimes other than murder couldn't be made to stand out from the pack and win an audience.

By Blogger impworks, at 8:59 AM  

We could stand to have a few more recitations per season of the Caution on our home-grown police/crime/mystery shows.

And "impworks" has a point about market possibilities right now.

By Blogger Dwight Williams, at 7:25 PM  

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