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Remembering the Miranda Rights decision

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PHOENIX -

It's a moment we see over and over on police shows and movies. Officers reading suspects their rights as soon as they're arrested.

The Miranda rule, as it's known, stemmed from an arrest right here in Phoenix. And the Phoenix Police Museum is opening a special exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark case.

The Miranda decision was formed as a result of the Ernesto Miranda case.

Ernesto Miranda, then 23, was locked up for rape 50 years ago. The arrest not only changed Miranda's life, it also changed how police officers do their jobs.

It all started with a rape and a robbery of a young woman coming home from work.

"She got off just a little before midnight, got off the bus.. on her way home she was abducted," says Capt. Carol Cooley.

Miranda had a history raping and robbing women. After a lot of footwork, Capt. Cooley thought Miranda was the suspect. But the victim could not ID Miranda positively in a lineup.

Then he got a break.

"Here's the interesting thing. With my silence there, he asked me ‘how did I do' [in the lineup]? I said ‘you didn't do too good Ernie,' so he said ‘I guess I better tell you about it.' He confessed to the crime I was investigating," says Capt. Cooley, retired police officer.

Miranda confessed and was convicted but it was overturned. The Supreme Court ruled police did not tell him about his rights before he wrote his confession.

Today it's now known as "Miranda Rights" -- Arizona's biggest case to be heard at the Supreme Court.

The Phoenix Police Museum opens Wednesday.

Phoenix Police Museum
Historic City Hall
17 South 2nd Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
602-534-7278
www.phoenixpolicemuseum.com

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