We receive new Supreme Court decisions every week here lately. Everyone is anticipating one in particular, but the Supreme Court receives many cases and has many decisions to make. Our constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy as a result of a recent decision that was made public this week.
The Supreme Court concluded in the case of Vega v. Tekoh that a suspect’s words or statements may be used against them in a court of law regardless of whether or not they were ever read to the suspect.
These are the case’s relevant facts as background:
Terrence Tekoh, who worked as a patient transporter in a hospital was accused of sexual assault by a patient and hospital staff alerted the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department of the matter. Later, Deputy Carlos Vega went to the hospital to question Tekoh about the incident. Both of them have differing opinions on what transpired, but what is indisputable is that Vega never read Tekoh his Miranda rights when he was arrested.
Tekoh was ultimately found not guilty and in turn sued Vega for violating his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by taking his statement before advising him of his Miranda rights.
So, the gist of it is this: If a police officer arrests you and fails to give you your Miranda rights and they then turn around and use those statements that you said against you in a court of law, you can’t sue the police officer for violating your Fifth Amendment.
Alito said in his ruling, “Miranda did not hold that a violation of the rules it established necessarily constitutes a Fifth Amendment violation, and it is difficult to see how it could have held otherwise. At no point in the opinion did the Court state that a violation of its new rules constituted a violation of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.”
He went on to clarify that “Miranda Court stated quite clearly that the Constitution did not itself require “adherence to any particular solution for the inherent compulsions of the interrogation process” and that its decision “in no way create[d] a constitutional straitjacket.”
Ultimately, Alito ruled, “Because a violation of Miranda is not itself a violation of the Fifth Amendment,” there is “no justification for expanding Miranda to confer a right to sue.”