Miranda v. Arizona at Fifty: Reviewing the Right to Remain Silent

Project #: 75
Name: Adam Knowles (; 215-895-2433)
Department: English & Philosophy
Academic Area: Criminology & Justice Studies, Philosophy

Title: Miranda v. Arizona at Fifty: Reviewing the Right to Remain Silent

The year 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Miranda v. Arizona decision guaranteeing the right to remain silent, a case deemed by legal scholars to be “truly without precedent†and “the most controversial criminal procedure case that the Court had ever decided.†In the reduction of the Miranda to a Hollywood cliché, it has been somewhat overlooked that the driving motivation behind the Warren Court's decision was an effort to curtail police brutality, especially coercive interrogation practices. Given the return of police brutality and “enhanced†interrogation as pressing national concerns, it is an opportune moment to re-examine this landmark decision from ethical, legal and political perspectives. / / The project will address the following questions: What is the right to remain silent a right to? What kinds of silence are protected by this right? What kinds of speech are not protected by this right? Has the Miranda decision improved conditions for suspects in custodial procedures? And why did the major police organizations at first react negatively to Miranda, but soon begin to embrace the procedures put in place by the Miranda decision? Finally, what is silence? I have been pursing these questions in my own research and propose to work closely with a Drexel student to cooperate in laying the groundwork for a project re-thinking the place of Miranda in 2016 as the issues that motivated the Miranda decision have once again emerged as pressing topical concerns.

Associated Independent Study:
In order to foster the participating student's research skills, I will first the train student involved in the project in research methods in the humanities in order to cooperatively prepare a comprehensive bibliography of literature and case precedent on Miranda v. Arizona. Specifically, I will familiarize the student with the use of bibliography software (EndNote), the use of the most important legal databases (LexisNexis, Hein Online, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law), as well as the broader online databases for journal articles, ebooks and printed material (EbscoHost, JSTOR, ProQuest, ProjectMuse, etc.) by working in close cooperation with the Drexel University library staff. The student will also learn the reading and research skills of how to work with footnotes and the scholarly apparatus of specialized literature in order to pursue in-depth research in the humanities. The final goal of the project will be the preparation of a comprehensive bibliography covering Miranda and an original article-length piece of writing by the student that could be the beginning of a senior thesis, be presented at undergraduate conferences or serve as a writing sample for law school or graduate school.

Gained Experience:
The student will develop proficiency in research methods useful for any field in the humanities and social sciences, and will become familiar with research methods for the major legal databases. Most importantly, I will train the student in the craft of research and writing by coaching him/her through the process of writing an article-length piece of original writing and analysis to serve as conference paper, senior thesis, publication or writing sample for graduate school or law school. The Humanities Fellowship program would provide an ideal opportunity for in-depth cooperation with a student while providing the student invaluable professional experience based on research into a topic of current national interest.

The research delivered by the student would also contribute directly to my book manuscript entitled Mute of Malice: Law, Speech and the Vulnerability of Silence. I have published several articles on silence and the philosophy of language and have been pursuing in-depth research into the legal valences of silence since being a Visiting Scholar at the Feminism and Legal Theory Program of the School of Law at Emory University in 2014.

1. Researching the major databases to gather literature on the Miranda v. Arizona decision. / 2. Preparing an annotated bibliography on Miranda. / 3. Reading and discussing the major literature on legal concepts of speech and silence. / 4. Writing an original essay on Miranda and the legal concept of silence.

Philadelphia, primarily in the Drexel libraries, primarily the Hagerty Library and the Legal Research Center of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

We will meet three times per week during the summer to discuss the student's progress, any particular challenges he/she is facing, and ways to refine his/her research. By August the student should begin writing his/her essay.

Interview Availability: April 29, 2015