This year’s Law Day theme is “Miranda: More than Words” to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In Miranda, the court held law enforcement personnel must advise a suspect of his rights in order to use statements made during a custodial interrogation in a later criminal proceeding.
The Miranda warning has become so ingrained in popular culture that many know all of its words, starting with, “You have the right to remain silent.” Yet, as the Law Day theme implies, there is much more to Miranda than the words of the warning; it is a living symbol of the importance of procedural fairness and equal justice under the law.
Unfortunately, many challenges still remain in carrying out this national pledge of “justice for all,” including racial disparities in the justice system, disproportionate sentencing and inadequately funded public-defense systems.
Law Day will be celebrated in Yosemite Valley, 10 a.m. on April 29, at the foot of Yosemite Falls. Four hundred eighth-grade students from surrounding communities will hear presentations by Susan Estrich and federal judicial officers on the Rule of Law. The public is welcome.
Carol Ann Moses, Fresno