Miranda V Arizona, Kansas V Ventris And Other Cases Where The 6th Amendment Was Violated

The Sixth Amendment is an amendment within the Bill of Rights that soon became a part of the U.S Constitution that was created on December 15th, 1791. This amendment was passed to protect citizens in any way relating to any sort of trial. The Six Amendment was also created to make sure that all prosecutions be made under more precise, just, and lawful circumstances. This amendment Guarantees a criminal defendant, his or her rights. These rights are to include but are not limited to the right to a public trial, and there must not be any unnecessary delays to his or her trial without proper reason, they have the right to have a lawyer whether they can afford one or not, one must be given to them in their defense, they have the right to an impartial jury that guarantees he or she will be given a fair decision once the verdict has come in, and they also have the right to be made aware of who the accuser is that is accusing them of committing the said crime that they are under investigation, or on trial for. They also must know what the charges that are being placed against you are and what evidence they have already collected against you. 

This amendment is especially important during the phases of criminal investigations because giving the offenders these basic rights can make all the difference during a trial or any sort of criminal investigation. This is something that must always happen no matter what the offender has done. There are multiple cases where the Sixth Amendment was violated within a criminal investigation as I have included examples of such within my response.

Massiah v. United States

This case shows one example of the important role that the sixth amendment plays during any trial or criminal investigation and how during this case this amendment was violated and not used correctly to the defendant during his case proceeding. During this trial, Gardner (2000), stated that it was proven that the Government tried to create evidence against Massiah by using implicate evidence that were made while he was not even on trial. These statements were made while he was not under the authority of the court or the government, at this time he was out with bail when the statements were made after already having been indicted for a previous federal narcotics charge. Gardner (2000) also stated that these statements were monitored secretly anytime the defendant and co-defendant made conversation. 

The defendant and co-defendant did agreed to work with the government during the trial, and they also allowed a radio to be placed under the seat of his car, but during the time it was placed they were not on trial as of then when they were being monitored. The defendant did have a lawyer while still in the custody of the government, but this lawyer was never present when conversation was made within the car between the defendant and the co-defendant. Once this case reached the Supreme Court, they ruled that this was indeed a violation of the defendants Sixth Amendment right by the Government. As a result of this, the court decided to undo the defendant’s conviction and conceal the statements received so that they could not be used in any other trial.

Kansas v. Ventris

This is another example of a case where the Sixth Amendment was violated and a person in the United States were not allowed to use one of their basic rights. In this case, I will talk about an arrest that was made against Donnie Ray Ventris in early 2004. Csoloveichik (2009), stated that he was arrested for murder, burglary, and robbery of victim Ernest Hicks. While he was on trial for the crimes mentioned before, the prosecutor of this case went to talk to Ventris’s bunkmate within the cell. This prosecutor lured the cellmate in to talk about Ventris and unfold information about him that would be harmful towards him during this case. The way that the officer obtained this information was a basic violation to the Sixth Amendment that Ventris is entitled to no matter what crime he has committed. The way that this violated the Sixth Amendment is because the Sixth Amendment states that you have the right to a counsel, and during the time of the statements from his cellmate, his counsel was not in the area and he never stated that he wanted to waive his basic right to be able to have a counsel before the investigation even started. Csoloveichik (2009), also stated that, this resulted in the prosecutor not being able to use the information received as a testimony against him during his trial, since the way that it was received was a violation of a basic civil right that he was allowed to have. The only thing that the prosecutor was able to use this information for was for the purpose of impeachment only. 

After consideration of everything during the trial, because the Sixth Amendment was clearly violated, Ventris was exonerated of the felony charges that he had received for murder, but the charges that he had for robbery and burglary still remained. The Kansas Court of Appeals declared this to be true, but the Kansas Supreme Court did not. The Kansas Supreme Court, ended up undoing the charges because they determined that even though Ventris told information and gave statements during the time that they were both in the cell, should never have been acknowledged during trial, not even for impeachment purposes. After this case, the U.S. Supreme Court will now be the one to decide if using these statements that are made and/or received while the offender has waived his or her rights to the Sixth Amendment and a right to counsel can even be used for the purposes of impeachment.

Miranda v. Arizona

This case is one of the most world known cases when it comes to criminal investigations and basic constitutional rights that were violated and/or simply just not given. After this case, this is how the Miranda rights read to you upon arrest were created. The Miranda Rights are as followed, “You have the right to remain silent. If you give up your rights to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you desire an attorney and cannot afford one, an attorney will be obtained for you before police questioning” Morrow (2015). In this case involving Miranda, he was put under arrest after stealing eight dollars from a bank worker in Arizona. Upon hours of questioning, he ended up confessing to robbery, kidnapping, and rape. Before bringing him in for questioning, he was never told that if he did not want to speak with anyone that he did not have to, or that he did not want to until a lawyer was present for his defense that in this situation he did not have to as well. He ended up agreeing to all the crimes and later was found guilty. After being convicted of these crimes, Miranda’s case appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. It was later decided and finalized, that all statements made by Miranda when talking to the police, would not be able to be used against him since he never was made aware of all the constitutional rights that he had. 

Since this case occurred, police officers are now required to read the warnings known as the Miranda rights to offenders or suspects before they begin to administer any type of questioning. These rights already were put in place, so the creation of these rights were not created to be something that was new, but more so to make sure that citizens of the United States were protected under the Fifth Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment to guarantee their rights when contacted by any law enforcement. Depending on which state you are in determines what guidelines police officers must follow to be in accordance with the Miranda rights when responding to an offender who has already been arrested, or in custody waiting to be interrogated, but no matter the state, the Supreme Court has made it mandatory to cite four major points of the Miranda rights that must be communicated clearly to protect the suspect under the Sixth Amendment and so that the offender or suspect has clear understanding and acknowledgement of the rights he or she has before continuing on to say or do anything. 

These four points are: “You have the right to remain silent”. If a suspect is remaining silent, they have the right to do so and silence can never be used against them while on trial for whatever crime they have committed. According to Morrow (2016), there is a phrase known as the “Pre-Miranda” silence. This happens when the offender has not yet been read his or her rights but already has decided to remain silent. If this type of this occurs, this type of silence can be seen as being suspicious or having an unusual sense of characteristics. To avoid having backlash of not speaking, it is always safe to let the officer know that they have an attorney available who has given guidance not to speak or give any type of statements without him or her being present. The second major point required to be told when reciting the Miranda Rights are that “Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law”. Offenders must know that any time you begin to speak without an attorney present, you basically have given up one of your basic rights and now have begun to create more evidence against yourself that will be used against you. Morrow (2016) stated that in many instances, the only real evidence that a prosecutor may have against them is the confession that they told. 

There are many offenders who become intimidated by all of the questioning and the arrest made, so they need to know that speaking to any law enforcement without an attorney can potentially be life changing and dangerous throughout the trial completed. The third point, is that “you always have the right to have your attorney present throughout any part of the case”. If at any time a police officer tries to question the suspect after an arrest has been made, that officer must stop all questioning and wait for an attorney to be present if requested by the suspect. Lastly, “If you cannot be afford to hire an attorney, one will be given to you if you request to have one. Police often have different questions that they are able to ask before reading the Miranda Rights and these questions are all simple routine questions such as name, address, birth date, or social security number. But the Miranda rights are still required before the officer proceeds to make any type of arrest. 

This case showed the significance of knowing your rights under the Sixth Amendment and how it can change the outcome of what you do. Miranda was able to get another trial after this and all previous evidence was thrown out. Miranda later ended up being stabbed to death in a brawl, but because of his case one potential suspect in this killing was arrested but chose to use his rights and remain silent when approached by law enforcements. Because of this, he was eventually released from the crime without even being charged for it.

All of these cases have shown the importance and outcomes of what being protected by the basic constitutional rights can do for you. Outcomes of many cases can be used to the advantage of many innocent people who know and understand the Sixth Amendment and be able to see when this amendment is clearly being violated.

U.S v. Tigano

The last case that I am going to talk about is the case involving Joseph Tigano the third. In 2008, Tigano was arrested and charged with operating an operation regarding growing marijuana. When going on trial, he decided to plead not guilty to the crimes he was accused of. He also decided to exercise his Sixth Amendment right by requesting to have his case moved to trial rather quickly. Instead of abiding by this request made while using his constitutional right, law enforcement kept Tigano incarcerated for almost seven years, before they allowed him to go before a jury of his peers. He ended up not being convicted of this crime until 2015. After his conviction, the United States Court of Appeal ended up dismissing his charges because they came to the conclusion that he was unfairly held in incarceration and his rights up under the Sixth Amendment were violated because he was supposed to be protected up under the United States Constitution once he asked for his charges to be taken to trial in a speedy manner and instead they failed to do so and wrongfully incarcerated him without any trial for almost seven years. While he was in custody awaiting trial, Tigano brought up the facts of the Sixth Amendment and how he had all right to ask for a speedy trial without having to deal with repercussions. 

According to Root (2018), instead of listening to what he was saying, the court decided to make him go through three different examinations that were required by the court to see if he was mentally fit to go through trial or be tried for the crime committed. After gaining the results of these examinations, Tigano passed every single test with ease. There were no deficiencies shown to where he was incapable of going through a trial for mental disorders or issues at all. After close examination of everything involved in this case, the second circuit decided to go ahead and throw out the conviction of Joseph Tigano the third. 

The Sixth Amendment was violated in so many instances in this case, and for everyone to completely ignore the plead of using his constitutional rights is highly unprofessional and stood all grounds for his case to be completely thrown out solely based on the way that he was treated for that long by the government who is supposed to protect all citizens within the means of their rights, whether they are right or wrong. The approximate time that they made Tigano sit in his cell without having a trial is six years, nine months, and twenty six days. This was the longest time ever seen by the second circuit to be incarcerated without any type of trial.

16 December 2021
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