Should the Confession Be Allowed

Laura Zanzig
Model Lesson Plan
Street Law Winter/Spring 2011-2012
Lesson: Criminal Law – Miranda rights
Source: Lecture information learned in Criminal Procedure lecture with Prof.
Mary Fan, University of Washington; activity worksheet adapted from opinion
poll created by Greg Hesler, found on the Street Law Model Lesson Plan website
Time: One class period, 50 minutes
Materials required: Miranda takeaway messages handout; video questions
handout; “Should the Confession Be Allowed?” worksheet
I. Goals
A. Give the students practical information that they will benefit from and can
apply to situations in their lives where they interact with law enforcement.
NB: This lesson plan was designed for a class with lower scholastic
skills and more experience with law enforcement than the average
high schooler. It is meant to be a practical tool that is accessible and
helps the students understand and apply these concepts.
II. Objectives
A. Knowledge objectives:
1. Students will know their Miranda rights
2. Students will know the best way to handle an arrest
B. Skills objectives:
1. Students will better be able to stand up for themselves to law
enforcement – but in a positive way
2. Students will be understand when their rights apply and how they work
C. Attitude objectives
1. Students will be interested and empowered by the information
III. Entry task
Journal: Describe a time when someone wanted to talk about something or asked
you about something you didn’t want to talk about. What happened? How did
you respond? Did you feel free to say no? (5 minutes)
*Journals should be collected and feedback given; can assign grades if desired
IV. Classroom methods
1. Pass out ACLU video questions
2. Instruct students that they are to fill in the questions as they watch; all the
answers will be found in the video
3. Show The ACLU & Elon James White: What To Do When You're Stopped By
Police: (4 minutes long)
4. Briefly go over answers after video is done. Call on students to provide the
B. LECTURE (10-15 minutes)
1. Give short lecture on Miranda rights (found in attached PowerPoint)
a. Students can ask questions as you go or afterwards
2. Pass out Miranda takeway handout for students to keep
1. Pass out “Should the Confession Be Allowed” handout
2. Have students break into small groups and answer for each of the three
scenarios whether or not the confession should be allowed (10-15 minutes)
a. Stress that they identify whether there is custody and interrogation in
each scenario – if there is only one but not the other, the confession can be
3. Go through scenarios one by one as a class (corresponding slides in attached
PowerPoint) (10-15 minutes)
a. Have the students give their opinion first
b. Then explain what the Supreme Court held
c. Address custody and interrogation separately for each scenario
V. Evaluation
Journals, video questions, participation in class, handout
1. Can you say “I’m remaining silent” or do you need to just
stay quiet?
2. Can you tell the police they don’t have permission to
search your belongings?
3. What should you do if you’re arrested? Circle one.
a. Do not resist
b. Call an attorney
c. Keep your hands visible
d. All of the above
4. Do you still have rights even if you don’t have your
immigration papers?
5. Can you ask the officer if you can leave?
1. Can you say “I’m remaining silent” or do you need to just stay quiet?
You can and should say, “I’m remaining silent.”
2. Can you tell the police they don’t have permission to search your belongings?
Yes you can and you should, clearly and respectfully.
3. What should you do if you’re arrested? Circle one.
a. Do not resist
b. Call an attorney
c. Keep your hands visible
d. All of the above
All of the above.
4. Do you still have rights even if you don’t have your immigration papers?
Yes you do!
5. Can you ask the officer if you can leave?
Yes you can, although it’s best to do it calmly and respectfully.
You have the right to remain silent!
You have the right to an attorney!
To exercise your rights, you must be CLEAR
A waiver of your rights can be interpreted by
your words or actions
Even after you have exercised your rights!
These rights apply when you are in
custodial police interrogation
Custody: where a reasonable person would not
feel free to leave
 Not just an arrest
 Does not apply to police stop and frisks
Interrogation: direction questioning or
interaction that is reasonably expected to get a
Read the following scenarios. Have the defendant’s Miranda rights been violated?
For each problem, consider whether there was both custody and interrogation.
If there is only one, or neither, the officer does not have to read the Miranda rights and
the statement can be used in court.
Charlie was arrested and charged with armed robbery of a
convenience store. While Charlie was in jail waiting for his trial, an
undercover officer was placed in Charlie’s cell. Before the officer
asked any questions, Charlie said that he had robbed the convenience
store. Charlie’s statement was used against him at trial, despite the
fact that he was not read his Miranda rights.
Should the court allow the statement?
Jared was arrested on suspicion of shooting a local taxicab driver in
the head and then burying the body nearby. Jared was read his
Miranda rights, and indicated that he needed to speak to a lawyer. On
the way to the station, the police began talking to each other about the
murder, while Jared listened in the back seat. Then, without warning,
Jared admitted to the murder. At his trial, Jared argued that the police
had coerced him into admitting to the murder and violated his right to
remain silent.
Should the court allow the statement?
David was driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone when he was suddenly
pulled over. The officer approached him, and requested that he step
outside of the vehicle. David stepped out of the car, and the officer
asked him whether or not he was aware of how fast he was going. In
response to the officer’s questioning, David admitted that he had been
speeding. At his hearing, David argued that because the officer did not
read his Miranda warnings, his confession should not be admitted.
Should the court allow David’s confession?
Teacher’s Guide to Outcomes: Miranda activity
Answers to activity scenarios are in attached PowerPoint. The following
can help supplement teacher’s explanations of why there was custody or
Scenario Number One:
The Supreme Court held that this was not a violation of the Fifth
Amendment. They felt that unless the defendant could show that the police
officer actually questioned the prisoner, instead of merely listening to him, then
the discussion did not qualify as a custodial interrogation.
Note: A later Supreme Court case went even further, saying that Miranda
warnings are not required if the defendant does not know he is speaking to a law
enforcement agent.
Scenario Number Two:
The Supreme Court said that this situation did not violated the defendant’s
Miranda rights because he had not been expressly questioned, nor had the
police said anything that the knew would likely coerce the defendant into
admitting guilt.
Note: The court did indicate in a later case that if, under the same
circumstances, the officer’s conversation was intended to produce a confession,
then it would violate the defendant’s Fifth Amendment, even absent express
Scenario Number Three:
The Supreme Court said that Miranda warnings need not be given before
roadside questioning of a motorist detained pursuant to a routine traffic stop.
They did not feel that such stops impair a person’s free exercise of his privilege
against self-incrimination to require that he be warned of his constitutional rights.