Case Topics: Self-Incrimination, Due Process

". . . the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination." —Chief Justice Earl Warren, speaking for the majority

Ernesto Miranda was arrested after a crime victim identified him, but police officers questioning him did not inform him of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, or of his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of an attorney. While he confessed to the crime, his attorney later argued that his confession should have been excluded from trial. The Supreme Court agreed, deciding that the police had not taken proper steps to inform Miranda of his rights.

About the materials

These materials were developed for students of various skill levels, and teachers should choose the level that works best for their students.  Answers to the background questions, vocabulary, and activities can be found in the "Answers & Differentiation Ideas" tab under each case.

Background Summary and Questions to Consider (by reading level)

Important Vocabulary (by reading level)

Legal Concepts

Other Useful Background Information

Activities*

The Case

After the Case

* See the "Answers & Differentiation Ideas" tab for access to answers to the background questions, vocabulary, and activities

Teaching Strategies Used

Planning Time and Activities

If you have one day . . .

  • Begin with a video clip from a television series that depicts the police reciting the Miranda warnings. Discuss these warnings with students, soliciting their ideas about what rights the accused are entitled to based on what they have seen on television.

  • Read the Background () as a class. Have students identify the arguments for each side and predict the outcome.

  • For homework, have students read the Key Excerpts from the Majority Opinion and answer the accompanying questions.

If you have two days . . .

If you have three days . . .

If you have four days . . .

Recommended Resources

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