Thirty years after the United States Supreme court voted 5 to 4 overturning the 
four cases known as Miranda vs. Arizona, Monroe County's 13-year District Attorney 
Howard Relin calls the Miranda decision among the top three top criminal law cases in 
the history of American juripridence-

RELIN: After I joined the District Attorney's office two years later in 1968, talking 
with veteran policemen at that time and they said if we have to read suspects their 
criminal rights no one will ever confess and this would destroy the criminal justice 
system. And despite the concerns of police and preosecutors at that time, the Miranda 
ruling has not had a great deal of effect in confessions because many defendants feel 
compelled no matter how ridiculous it may be- they feel compelled to make an 

    Attorney David Murante has practiced law for the past 22 years. He calls Miranda a 
step in the right direction and long overdue, an attempt to put the less advantaged on 
an equal footing with those of greater means.

MURANTE: Everybody should be aware of their right to an attorney before they face quite 
frankly, the awesome power of the state in connection with interrogation at police 
headquaretrs surrounded by police people who generally have a bias towards a conclusion 
the individual their interrogating is involved in the crime. Again, I think the Supreme 
Court felt it only fair that that person be advised that if he wanted, he had a right to 
talk to an attorney.

    Murante says one problem  with the process is that he feels the Miranda warnings may 
not be effectively administered or not given at all.

MURANTE: If there is any concern about that on behalf of the police I think technology 
has reached a state where ceratainly the rights of the accused could be protected in the 
fact that the police when they claim they gave these rights had been documented through 
video or audio taping- which in my mind is of deep concern. There is no requirement. 
Communities on an individual basis that opted to use video taping I think are doing the 
right thing. They're in essence saying, look we are complying with the law and we're not 
afraid to take the steps in order to prove it, as opposed to just our word versus the 
word of the accused down the road.

    There is an exact time when the rights are to be issued: after the police have taken 
someone into custody but before interrogation begins. Relin believes Miranda has 
generated more legal decisions relating to what custody is to what being a suspect 
is than almost any other case in America.

RELIN: Sometimes you'll have a defendant claimiing he was threatened or promises were 
made to him. Those are things that also cannot be done during a voluntary conversation 
with the defendant. And then it becomes a question for a hearing to be conducted and for 
the defendant to be able to show if any of that in fact did occur. If the court were 
satisfied that there had been some type of police inpropriety then the result is the 
confession would be suppressed by the court.

    Murante also belives that justice may further prevail if  the Miranda rights were 
explained not by the police but by an independent, unbiased individual.

MURANTE: I think the problem is that the police quite frankly want to control the 
situation. They want to be the ones reading the rights because they can then be the ones 
to testify that whether in fact they were given, and whether they were given effectively. 
I t becomes less of an incumberance in their performance in their obligations. It's a 
very rare occasion when I've seen the Miranda decision prevent law enforcement from 
actually interrogating someone effectively. Most people gvie up those rights and may make 
a statement. Whereas I think if they talked to an independent person, a person who is 
independent of the police position, most people giving it some thought would say, wait a 
minute, let me talk to a lawyer first, let me talk to my family first. At least let me 
talk to the police in the presence of somebody whose got my interests at heart.

    Thirty years old- the right to remain silent. Bill Flynn, WXXI 1370.