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SCOTUS Says Violation Of Miranda Is Not Ground For Civil-Rights Lawsuit

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police officers are not subject to being sued under a major federal civil rights law if they do not read someone their Miranda rights. The 6-3 ruling said that the violation of Miranda does not constitute a violation of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination. The decision was issued in an appeal by Terence Tekoh, who said he was not read his Miranda rights when he provided a self-incriminating written statement to the police about a sexual assault he was accused of. The court said that violating Miranda does not violate the Constitution or deprive someone of a right secured by the Constitution.

The court majority went on to say there is no justification to expand Miranda to confer a right to sue under the civil rights law known as Section 1983. They said doing so would cause disserve "judicial economy" by requiring a federal judge to adjudicate a already-decided factual question, produce friction between federal and state court systems, and create procedural issues. Tekoh filed a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit against Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Carlos Vega after Vega failed to read him his Miranda rights. Vega visited Tekoh at his place of work to question Tekoh about allegations of sexual assault. Tekoh was not in custody when he made his written statement. The written statement Tekoh made was used against him in court but he was found not guilty. Dissenting Justice Elena Kagan said, "Today, the Court strips individuals of the ability to seek a remedy for violations of the right recognized in Miranda."


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