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Criminal Law - Miranda and Hinckley

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Miranda and Hinckley 

Criminal Law

Southern New Hampshire University

July 29, 2018

Instructor Professor Quentin Brown


A. As per the Supreme Court decision on the case of Miranda v. Arizona (1966), once the suspect has been police custody, the suspect enjoy the right to remain silent, then, right to an attorney, be informed that “you are not supposed to say anything as that is used against” and finally the right to have an appointed an attorney in scenario where the suspect cannot afford (Vile, 2015). Right to remain silent is specifically stipulated in the Fifth Amendment of U.S Constitution (self –incrimination clause). Failing to inform the suspect on the right to attorney makes information obtained inadmissible (Florida v. Powell. (n.d.). In criminal cases, the court appoints counsel to suspect who cannot afford an attorney.

The police officers are forced to warn the suspect after placing them in police custody on their Miranda rights. The police are forced to act professionally and ensure that they do not question the suspect without them waiving the right to an attorney and have to wait until a court appoint a counsel for them to carry out interrogation and interview.

B. Looking at the Fifth Amendment in our Constitution, the right to remain silent and further sixth amendment right to an attorney are warning that the police are supposed to provide once the suspect has been placed in police custody. The court finds that the evidence obtained violating the defendant constitutional right and thus inadmissible. The fifth and the sixth amendment require that Miranda rights be administered immediately the suspect is in police custody.  Both right to an attorney and to remain silent be warned that “anything you said would be used against you” were violated. The Miranda v. Arizona (1966) provides Miranda rights which were violated. The case is thus dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Miranda case influenced my decision in reaching a conclusion. It is a plain fact that Miranda warning was not administered. Both right to an attorney and to remain silent and finally uttering any word were not administered making the evidence obtained inadmissible.  


A.The Model Penal Code (MPC) is much crucial since it is a test for legal insanity. The test of MPC requires that the suspect was not in a position "appreciate the criminal" of his /her conduct and secondly to "conform his/her conduct" to a legal requirement.

Critically analyzing the defendant case (John Hinckley), it is evident that the defendant was legally insane as was unable to understand his conduct while shooting President Ronald Reagan where the other three were injured. The defendant was suffering from mental illness and specifically Schizophrenia, Erotomania, and major depressive disorder.  

The defendant (John Hinckley) history proves that he was suffering mentally. In 1979, the defendant was taking antidepressant and sedatives and even wrote to her sister that “my nervous system is shot” as he was struggling so much psychologically which made him resort taking heavy medication ( Editors, 2017). In 1980, received some psychiatric treatment which did not at all aid to improve his mental state

The burden proves lies on prosecution, and that makes the jury verdict to rule that the defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity. The defendant truly shot and injured President Ronald Reagan and the other three which is not a subject of contestation ( Staff (2009). The act of shooting, however, was not voluntary but was due to mental illness.

B. Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984  (IDRA) brought several changes to only federal cases regarding the defense of insanity which came as a result of public outcry in the case of the John Hinckley trial. The standard for legal insanity was raised higher and requires that the defendant while committing an offence was suffering from a severe mental illness that made him/her unable to appreciate or understand the wrongdoing. Another requirement is providing clear, convincing evidence by the defendant on the case since the burden of proof also shifted from prosecution to defendant (18 U.S.C. § 17)



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