EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about possible EU Miranda Rights was published on 20th July 2010.

Police officers in all EU countries might be required to present a standard letter of rights to criminal suspects in their custody before they are interrogated, resembling the so-called ‘Miranda Warning’ used in the US, according to a European Commission paper obtained by EurActiv.

If the proposal, which the Commission is presenting today (20 July), is endorsed by member states and the European Parliament, national police officers across the EU will act like US cops seen in many Hollywood films when they stop suspected criminals.

“You have the right to be informed of what offence you are suspected; to the assistance of a lawyer; to an interpreter and translation of documents [and] to know for how long you can be detained,” reads the warning, which suspected criminals will hear before they are interrogated to inform them of their rights, according to the draft proposal, seen by EurActiv.

The US way

The letter is similar to the so-called ‘Miranda Warning’ which policemen in the United States must read to arrested people.

US policemen are obliged to inform those who they arrest of their rights, following a famous US Supreme Court decision in 1966 relating to a case opposing Ernesto Arturo Miranda and the State of Arizona.

The court ruling established a number of guidelines for policemen dealing with arrested suspects. The decision says, for example, that “the person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court”.

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