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Grave of Ernesto Miranda.

Grave of Ernesto Miranda

Field review by the editors.

Mesa, Arizona

If you stop by this small, slab grave in the Mesa City Cemetery and you're not a family member, you're more likely paying respects to the principle rather than the person. Ernesto A. Miranda was a career criminal. But thanks to him, police must advise all crime suspects of their rights at the time of arrest. TV and movies have taught the "Miranda warning" to generations of non-suspects. "The right to remain silent...the right to an attorney..." etc. is a required part of the arrest process -- or the case can be thrown out and the suspect goes free.

Born in Arizona in 1941, Ernesto A. Miranda was no angel for justice; he dropped out of school, committed various offenses, and spent time in prison. In 1963 he was arrested and convicted for armed robbery, kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old girl. Law enforcement failed to advise him of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during his initial interrogation. At the time, the government did not automatically assign lawyers for indigent defendants, and Miranda was a drifter with no assets.

Miranda's attorneys appealed his conviction, which led to the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling -- building on a few earlier rulings overturning criminal convictions -- that all suspects at the time of their arrests must be read their rights. His conviction was overturned. After release, the state arrested Miranda again for the same crimes, read him his Miranda rights, and tried him without using his original un-Mirandized confession. He was convicted and sent to prison.

Miranda was paroled in 1972. He hung around Phoenix for a while, selling souvenir "Miranda warning" cards on the street. He continued to commit lesser offenses, though his attorney from the landmark case told newspaper reporters he'd gotten a regular job as a draftsman, "received some education and adjusted to society."

On January 31, 1976, the 34-year old Miranda was fatally stabbed in a Phoenix skid-row bar brawl. Police found several Miranda warning cards in his pockets. His two suspected assailants were read their Miranda rights, but no one was convicted for his death.

Grave of Ernesto Miranda

Mesa Cemetery

1212 N. Center St., Mesa, AZ
Mesa Cemetery. Entrance is on the west side of N. Center St., across from the baseball stadium, just north of Brown Rd. Grave is toward the back of the cemetery; drive in, then turn right on 8th St. The grave is on the right (east) side of 8th St. just south of C St. It's a simple marker, flush with the ground. Block 677 Lot 1 Space 2. Third row in, about 8th from end.
Daily dawn-dusk (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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