What's the Miranda warning called in countries where Miranda never happened -- or is it called anything at all?
November 8, 2005 10:36 PM   Subscribe

The Miranda warning is well known in the US. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law...". But are there equivalent warnings that people in other countries hear when they are arrested? What are they called? How are they worded?

I ask because I'm watching a 15-year-old Canadian TV show on DVD, and when someone was arrested a few minutes ago he got read his rights, which were pretty similar to the Miranda rights. Is this just television, or does this reflect reality?
posted by croutonsupafreak to Law & Government (14 answers total)
From the Wikipedia entry:

In Canada, equivalent rights exist pursuant to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under the Charter, an arrested person has the right:

a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;

b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and be informed of that right: and

c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

(See: R. v. Hebert [1990] 2 S.C.R. 15)

Section 11 of the Charter further provides that a person cannot be compelled to be a witness in a proceeding against them (s. 11(c) - protection against self-incrimination) and is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by a independent and impartial tribunal (s. 11(d)). Section 14 of the Charter further provides that a translator must be made available so that the person can understand the proceedings against them. This right to a translator extends to the deaf.

Thus, under Canadian law, a person charged of a crime effectively has the same protections under the law as are provided by Miranda.

The Wikipedia entry also discusses how television has created confusion as to when the Miranda warning is required to be stated. As it turns out, police officers only need say it if they intend to interrogate or question a suspect.
posted by panoptican at 10:48 PM on November 8, 2005

No right to silence in the UK since, 1998 I think.

Internment camps are next with the upcoming terror bills
posted by lalochezia at 11:00 PM on November 8, 2005

Well not quite... there is a right to silence. But silence can be used against you in the court of law, depending upon the situation.
posted by panoptican at 11:13 PM on November 8, 2005

I've heard that American TV usage even sometimes has suspects in other countries asking the police to read them such a warning. (Example, from Russia.) Something like it exists in most modern democracies, and the EU is working toward a "harmonizing" common standard (I just added this to Wikipedia), although the British take on silence would not be compatible, among other problems.

One of the world's newest constitutions is South Africa's, and its rights of the arrested are pretty familiar in all but the wording.

On the other hand, or extreme, Chinese criminal defendants have virtually no rights at all, and can be compelled to speak.

Unfortunately, many times having the rights enumerated in the constitution or legal code does not guarantee their enforcement -- viz. Nigeria.
posted by dhartung at 12:02 AM on November 9, 2005

My Criminal Procedure book says the UK version (known as a "caution") goes like this: "You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence." In addition, the suspect has a right to "independant legal advice" that is "free of charge."

Some UK solicitor MeFite probably knows better though.
posted by falconred at 12:10 AM on November 9, 2005

Best answer: (Not an answer to your question, but related.)
From Neal Stephenson's In the Beginning was the Command Line:
"Police in many lands are now complaining that local arrestees are insisting on having their Miranda rights read to them, just like perps in American TV cop shows. When it's explained to them that they are in a different country, where those rights do not exist, they become outraged. Starsky and Hutch reruns, dubbed into diverse languages, may turn out, in the long run, to be a greater force for human rights than the Declaration of Independence."
posted by niloticus at 12:12 AM on November 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

Falconred has it right for the UK:

"You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say will be given in evidence."
posted by patricio at 1:58 AM on November 9, 2005

Just so you know, the Miranda warning is not what TV makes you think it is. It's not that you automatically get it read whenever you are arrested, it's meant for interrogations. You also don't get a phone call until you're arraigned. I know, what a let down.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:09 AM on November 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

UK: Despite the warning there's a lot to be said for not saying anything until you have spoken to a lawyer. You can say all that you need to after that.
posted by biffa at 3:23 AM on November 9, 2005

The police warning given in Canada (or, at least, it used to be) upon the arrest of a suspect has always struck me as almost poetic:

"You need not say anything. You have nothing to hope from any promise or favour and nothing to fear from any threat whether or not you say anything. Anything you do say may be used against you as evidence."

Nothing to hope from any promise, nothing to fear from any threat. I'm sure it's not all that encouraging when you hear it, given the context, but it's just a lovely bit of writing.
posted by enrevanche at 4:57 AM on November 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

In Japan I haven't heard of any Miranda-like warning, but they can hold you incommunicado for up to 3 days while advising you of your rights (and perhaps a few lefts, but mostly a massive guilt/shame pile-on) in an attempt to get a confession. Also, they can hold you up to 10 days before charging you with any crime, and that can be extended up to 28 days with permission from a prosecutor. Keep yer nose clean around here.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:20 AM on November 9, 2005

Just so you know, the Miranda warning is not what TV makes you think it is. It's not that you automatically get it read whenever you are arrested, it's meant for interrogations.

technically, you're right, but a lot of police will read it to you anyway just to be safe
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on November 9, 2005

(...or, I've always suspected, to give you a little jolt. "Oh shit," you say to yourself, "they're reading me my rights! Just like on TV! I'm in real trouble now....")
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:28 AM on November 9, 2005

Pyramid termite and nebulawindphone:

I would have thought it would be useful to say when arresting someone so that any potentially useful conversation in the police car on the way to the station is covered as interrogation.

(But I don't know any cops, and haven't been arrested, so this assumption comes out of nowhere)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:13 PM on November 9, 2005

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