Perceptions of the Function of Rights

  • Thomas Grisso
Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 3)


An understanding of the Miranda warning statements per se is not enough to prepare a suspect to make a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary decision to waive or assert his or her rights. The Miranda warnings are merely notifications of those rights. They inform a suspect that certain optional choices are available, but they do not explain how the rights work in the context of police and court procedure. To know that one has choices is of limited value if one does not also have an understanding of the significance and function of those choices within the legal system.


Police Officer Inadequate Response Juvenile Justice System Juvenile Court Defense Attorney 
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  1. 1.
    For example: In re L., 287 N.Y.S.2d 218 (1968); Commonwealth v. Darden271 A.2d 257 (1970); Cooper v. Griffin455 F.2d 1142 (1972); In re Thompson241 N.W.2d 1 (1976).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For example: Coyote v. U.S.380 F.2d 305 (1967); People v. Baker292 N.E.2d 760 (1973); In re C.W. Jr.508 S.W.2d 520 (1973); In re Morgan341 N.E.2d 19 (1975); In re Holifield319 S.2d 471 (1975).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Ferster et al. (1970–1971) documented the way in which some lawyers assume the function of finder of fact and determiner of disposition. They found that many attorneys made decisions regarding whether to “plead a juvenile guilty or not guilty” on the basis of their judgment of the juvenile as a “good kid” or a “bad kid” (defined primarily by the juvenile’s attitude toward authority or the attorney) and on the juvenile’s past record. They tended to “enter a plea of guilty” for bad kids in almost all circumstances in order to help the court process them toward reformatories and to “plead guilty” for good kids with no prior record on the assumption that they needed a scare to send them straight in the future. Good kids with prior records received the most adequate defense.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Grisso
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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