New Supreme Court Ruling for the Miranda Rights – What it Means for Florida

July 7, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

Continuing with the long list of Supreme Court rulings is a new rule regarding the Miranda Rights. The Miranda rights are the set of rights an individual has after getting arrested or interviewed by the police. The Miranda rights are a pillar of American policing, which is commonly heard in movies or on TV. Included in the Miranda Rights are the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney.

Now with the new changes, police are protected from any lawsuits from neglecting to read someone their Miranda rights. We will address the new changes, if and how it will affect criminal law, and the various responses.

What is the New Ruling?

The new ruling from the Supreme Court, Vega v. Tekoh, held that a violation of miranda does not provide a basis to use under a depravation of civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In simple terms, criminal defendants cannot sue a police officer who failed to inform them of their Miranda rights. makes it impossible to sue a police officer who has violated the Miranda Rights. The biggest impact from the new ruling is that although everyone is still entitled to their Fifth Amendment rights, there is no constitutional obligation to inform someone of those specific rights.

It will still be a legal requirement for police to read citizens their Miranda rights if they are arrested. It will just protect officers from being sued in the event that they do not read someone their Miranda rights.

Even without the ability to sue the police, there is still an incentive to read someone under arrest their Miranda rights. If the police fail to read Miranda prior to an investigation, then a skilled defense attorney can work to suppress statements made during an interrogation.

The responses to the new ruling range from concern to thinking it’s “no big deal.” Some experts claim that the ruling could reduce police accountability, along with undermining the constitutional rights stipulated in the Fifth Amendment.


Several officers from Florida counties have been firm with the belief that the new Supreme Court ruling won’t change the way their organization practices and operates. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri addressed that there is still a primary motivation for police to read the Miranda rights.

“The consequence is suppression of evidence,” Gualtieri said. “The consequence is that all their work, all their effort, is for naught.”

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said he will ensure that the officers in his department will not be disincentivized by the lack of legal consequences from the new Miranda ruling. “If the officer wants to make sure that he or she has a strong case against the person they just arrested, then they need to read Miranda,” Holloway said.

Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter wrote, “since current case law still requires it we are committed to following the law,” stating that the only way police practice would have changed was if Miranda was no longer mandatory at all.

However, Judith Scully, a criminal law professor at Stetson University College of Law, is wary of the new ruling and its implications. In Vega v. Tekoh, the court held that a violation of Miranda is not necessarily a violation of the  Fifth Amendment. The court said it is only a constitutional violation if there was physical violence or other methods of coercion used by the police to gain information from a suspect. Scully sees the new ruling as a worrying trend, despite the various police departments who claim it will not threaten good police practice.

“The court has been whittling away at Miranda rights for decades now,” Scully said. “We’ve been on that slippery slope for 30 years.”

The outcome of the Vega v. Tekoh case was a legal technicality. Terrence Tekoh, a hospital worker, claimed that the police officer Carlos Vega failed to read him Miranda and then supposedly flashed his gun, threatened him with deportation, and then forced Tekoh to make a false confession.

Tekoh attempted to sue Vega for a violation of his constitutional rights, but verbal threats are not considered an example of coercion to the Supreme Court. Scully highlighted how a verbal aggression doesn’t count as a violation of the Fifth Amendment. “They recognize the police officers’ conduct as being unethical, perhaps even unacceptable, but they are not willing to say that it’s unconstitutional. They draw a distinction between ethics, acceptability and constitutionality,” she said.

Scully continued to describe how the Supreme Court gives too much leeway to the police, which weakens civilian protections. The police are given “way too much discretion in terms of how they behave,” she said. “There is an evisceration of the Miranda doctrine that is taking place. While that doesn’t mean the Fifth Amendment itself is under fire, there’s still cause for concern.”

Sheriff Gualtieri disagrees, saying that the ruling does not mean anything. “The ruling is irrelevant,” he said.

Understanding Your Miranda Rights in Florida

Whether or not the police are getting too much leeway without the ability to be sued with the new Miranda ruling, it is still highly important that you have a broad understanding of your rights under Miranda. If the police have read you your Miranda rights, it is likely that you are now a part of an investigation. What does this mean? It means you have been in a situation where the following is true:

  • You are being asked questions by a police officer,
  • You are not free to leave, and
  • The questions that the police are asking are to get an incriminating response out of you.

It is important to note that a police officer will ask you questions, even if they have not yet read you your Miranda rights. Make sure to remember that you will always have the right not to answer a question the police are asking you, as long as you state that you are exercising your right to remain silent.

A skilled defense attorney will be able to inform you if your rights have been violated by the police. The best way to ensure you win your case is to work with an experienced defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

With the new Supreme Court ruling, it may be difficult to determine whether your rights have been violated after speaking with the police. The best thing to do is exercise your right to remain silent until you have contacted a Florida criminal defense attorney. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, contact Pumphrey Law Firm today. Don Pumphrey and his legal team have represented clients all across the state of Florida for various criminal charges. We understand the importance of building a strong defense for your case, and will work tirelessly to ensure your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

Back to Top