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What Are Miranda Rights?

• Marc Lallanilla via

To fans of television cop dramas, the Miranda warning has a familiar ring:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

It goes on: "You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

Miranda rights have been read to nearly all persons arrested in the United States since 1966 — but because of one critical exception, they won't be read to the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights

In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking ruling in the case of Miranda v. State of Arizona.

That ruling found that the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of Ernesto Arturo Miranda had been violated after he was arrested and tried for rape and kidnapping. [Understanding the 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]

The Fifth Amendment protects an arrested person from being compelled to be "a witness against himself," or self-incrimination; the Sixth Amendment guarantees that a person shall "have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

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