Washington, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that police officers cannot be sued for failing to read a suspect a Miranda warning.
In the ruling released on June 23, the court voted 6-to-3 that the only remedy for violating a suspect’s Miranda rights was to block the use of incriminating statements in court, the Los Angeles Times reported.
At issue was whether a civil lawsuit could be filed against an investigating officer who failed to issue a Miranda warning for violating an individual’s Constitutional rights, Reuters reported.
In 2021, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that using a statement in court without giving a Miranda warning was a violation of the Fifth Amendment.
But the highest court in the United States did not agree.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who wrote the decision, said Miranda was a set of guidelines that protected an individual’s right to against self-incrimination.
Alito wrote that “a violation of Miranda does not necessarily constitute a violation of the Constitution, and therefore such a violation does not constitute ‘the deprivation of [a] right … secured by the Constitution’ that would authorize a civil rights suit against a police officer,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The court said that Miranda warnings remain intact and in order for a confession to be used in court, the suspect must be warned in advance of his rights.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the dissent that the liberal justices felt the ruling weakened Miranda and might encourage law enforcement officers to use pressure tactics against suspects in custody, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Kagan wrote that some people were likely to be pressured into confessing to crimes that they did not commit.
“Today, the court strips individuals of the ability to seek a remedy for violations of the right recognized in Miranda,” she wrote. “The majority here, as elsewhere, injures the right by denying the remedy.”
In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled that evidence revealed by a suspect could be used against them in court even without a Miranda warning, the Los Angeles Times reported.