Police Chiefs' Perceptions About Miranda: An Analysis of Survey Data

Victoria Time, Old Dominion University
Brian K. Payne, Old Dominion University

Debate about the Miranda warnings has been ongoing since the Miranda case was decided over three decades ago. The debate became timely with the Supreme Court's decision late last year to revisit the warniings. The Supreme Court on June 26, 2000 arrived at a 7-2 decision to uphold the Miranda warnings. In this paper, we report on a survey asking 95 police chiefs from the Commonwealth of Virginia about their perceptions concerning Miranda. Factors contributing to their perceptions are examined. Results indicate that the chiefs are slightly mixed regarding their perceptions about Miranda, though a majority support continued use of the warnings. Demographic factors played a small role in their beliefs. Perceived experiences with Miranda influenced their beliefs in several cases. Implications of the study are: as administrators who direct policy, the opinions of police chiefs may impact on the actions of officers. Their perceptions of Miranda if favorable, informs whether drastic changes would be chaotic for law enforcement. As administrators of the justice system's gatekeepers, it is necessary that attention be given to their opinion.

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Updated 05/20/2006