Playing dumb when read your rights

The standard Miranda warning includes the line “Do you understand each of these rights?”. What if in response to that I said “no, what are you talking about?” and stuck to that?

The more plausible applicable question would be, what if the person arrested doesn’t understand English?

If they don’t understand English, you can hardly question them, can you? :stuck_out_tongue:

I was thinking more of, how do they fulfill the letter of the requirement when someone games the system?

If you aren’t talking to the police in the first place then nothing you say can be used against you, can it? So what could this gain you?

Realistically, you can’t do anything new to game the system. Saying no to Miranda is functionally equivalent to saying that you won’t talk without a lawyer. So they will provide a public defender who does understand your rights and proceed from there.

And realistically, they will make it as long and uncomfortable as possible for you before the lawyer gets there. If you don’t talk to your lawyer either, then don’t expect any good outcomes.

They still gas retards, unless I’m stuck in the 50s.

Moderator Note

I’m not sure what exactly you’re trying to convey with this, but whatever it is it doesn’t belong in GQ.

General Questions Moderator

Nothing. Miranda applies only to custodial interrogation, and it’s effect is only that someone who wasn’t given the warning and subsequently confesses, may be able to get the confession suppressed.

IIRC, and for the record, you do have to tell the police your name if they ask. Your identity is not protected by your 5th amendment rights

Only in certain states, not all.

What he was conveying was clear enough to me: pretending you’re dumb (or even mentally retarded) after getting arrested for a capital crime isn’t going to get you off the hook, since states have continued to execute mentally retarded folks up to the present day. This was entirely relevant to the OP.

If that is what the poster was trying to convey (and I’m not sure it was), it is factually inaccurate:

Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty

Name, address and birth date. Nothing more.

I’m curious as to why you’d cite a very old ACLU article published immediately after the Supreme Court ruling banning execution of the mentally retarded, when there are much more recent ones, many from the very same source, which allege that this ruling is not being properly complied with. For example, there’s this one from 2012, also from the ACLU, arguing that Georgia and Texas were continuing to execute mentally retarded prisoners as of that year. Web and news searches will turn up many further ones.

When I first read the OPs question, I interpreted it along these line: If you claim not to have understood what your rights are when asked by the law enforcement officer, could it later be argued that you have not been properly mirandized?

And what would be the purpose of that question (by the LEO) in the first place?

Of some interest, there is law in Washington State (and probably elsewhere) that the government must prove you could understand your “implied consent” warnings (whether you have to take the breath test after DUI arrest) before they can use the results against you.

As others point out, it is rarely an issue if you could understand your Miranda rights or not. I assume it would be argued that you didn’t waive your right to remain silent if you didn’t acknowledge understanding the little speech.

Reminds me of a great story an LAPD officer once told me. He and his partner pulled over a Latino driving a stolen vehicle. The guy spoke perfect, flawless English—until he found out that he was going to jail. Then suddenly it was “no hablo Englaaaiiis.” He maintained this charade without cracking all the way up to the point where he was standing in front of the judge. The judge contemptuously informed the two officers that the defendant clearly couldn’t understand a word of English, and therefore could not possibly have been properly Mirandized. The judge then summarily dismissed all charges, while glowering at the two cops as if they were idiots. The defendant then immediately turned to the arresting officer, who was seated directly behind him, and said (with the judge still present) “I told you I’d beat it in court.”

There is a serious misconception going on here. Cops absolutely do not need to Mirandize you when they arrest you.

The story Washoe told? Never happened. The only reason cops will “read you your rights” is if they want to question you, and then use your statements against you in court. Plus, you know, in LA they arrest people who don’t habla englais all day every day. If the cops want to interrogate those guys, it turns out that in LA they have people specially trained to speak foreigner, who can read the guy his rights en Español.

You can’t beat a traffic ticket or an arrest just by not speaking english, or not being mirandized. A judge isn’t going to dismiss the charges because you weren’t mirandized, the most that could happen is that a judge would exclude your statements to the cops. Except if you don’t talk to the cops, you haven’t confessed to the cops either.

You can accomplish the exact same thing by refusing to say anything except “I wanna see my lawyer!”


Even if that’s the point he was trying to make, phrasing it as “They still gas retards” was not the way to get it across in GQ.

General Questions Moderator

This is right. The legal principle arising from Miranda v. Arizona is often misunderstood and many people tell officers, “you can’t arrest me because you didn’t read me my rights.” But Miranda Warnings are only required for custodial interrogation so the court can be sure statements obtained from someone who had been detained were made knowingly and voluntarily. When there is probable cause to arrest a person apart from any statement they make (a classic example would be when the officer witnesses the crime) then they can pretend not to understand the warnings and it won’t affect the case since a confession isn’t necessary.

IIRC, there was a case where the judge(s) ruled that based upon the defendant’s extensive criminal history, it was clear he knew his rights from past experience.

In response to the OP, playing dumb is rarely as helpful as it may seem once a person gets before a judge who doesn’t see the law as a game. Just a thought.