ACLU History: Right to Remain Silent
Escobedo v. Illinois established that criminal suspects have a right to counsel not just at trial but during police interrogations. The ACLU of Illinois argued the case before the Supreme Court, citing the police's own textbooks on how to conduct aggressive interrogations. Also influential in the ruling was the ACLU of Illinois' 1959 report on brutal police practices, Secret Detention, which Chief Justice Earl Warren cited in his opinion.
Miranda v. Arizona established that police were required to advise suspects of their right to remain silent, of the fact that anything they said could be used against them, and of their right to an attorney. ACLU of Arizona attorneys represented defendant Ernesto Arturo Miranda, and arranged for one of Phoenix's largest law firms to argue his case pro bono before the Supreme Court. Notably, the Miranda case linked the Escobedo principle of a Sixth Amendment right to counsel with the equally important Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself. After all, attorneys argued, if a defendant is too intimidated or ignorant to ask for a lawyer, he may well be coerced into incriminating himself during questioning. Thus, police were henceforth required to provide the 'Miranda' warning.