SCOTUS: Police Can’t Be Sued for Not Reading Miranda Rights

Miranda violations aren't grounds for a lawsuit under section 1983.

By , Attorney

On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court held that an officer's failure to provide Miranda warnings to a suspect doesn't provide grounds for a federal civil rights lawsuit. (Vega v. Tekoh, 597 U.S. __ (2022).)

The federal statute on civil rights lawsuits (42 U. S. C. § 1983) allows people to sue only for violations of federal constitutional rights or federal laws. The Supreme Court said that Miranda's requirement that officers inform suspects of their Fifth Amendment rights is not itself a Fifth Amendment right. And since a Miranda violation isn't a violation of a right or a law, it can't give rise to a federal lawsuit.

The Court also said that even if the Miranda rule could be considered a federal law, the "remedy" provided by that law is simply to keep a suspect's statement out of court.

For more information on Miranda violations in criminal cases, see Police Questioning of Suspects: The Miranda Rule.

Effective date: June 23, 2022