ABA Midyear Meeting

Miranda warning translations should be developed for non-English speakers, the ABA House resolves

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The ABA House of Delegates has approved Resolution 112C, urging law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels to develop translations of Miranda warnings in as many languages as necessary to accurately inform criminal suspects of their Miranda rights.

Miranda warnings stem from the 1966 decision Miranda v. Arizona, in which it was ruled that unless suspects in a custodial interrogation are informed of their right to remain silent and to have counsel present during questioning, their statements cannot later be used in court. However, that U.S. Supreme Court decision did not detail the precise wording for how suspects had to be informed of their rights, as the ABA Journal reported in an August 2016 feature on the 50th anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona. California developed the version of the Miranda warning we are familiar with from TV shows and movies, and many jurisdictions followed its lead.

“Reading someone a warning in English when they don’t understand it is like not reading it at all,” Keith Rowley, a law professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, told the ABA Journal for the Miranda anniversary story. “Courts have said something to the effect that if you arrest someone who is a Spanish speaker, then you have to give them their rights in Spanish.”

Follow along with our full coverage of the 2017 ABA Midyear Meeting

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