By Jennifer Levin, Commissioner
(June 2, 2016) – “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you…” These words, or “Miranda Rights”, became a required part of police procedure as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona, which at its core protects individuals from self-incrimination. Miranda Rights are more than just words though as was the theme in this year’s American Bar Association Law Day, “Miranda—More than Words.”
On May 12, Rosa Carvajal, the Legal Studies teacher at NSE SIB K-8, members of our Police Department, and I, as an attorney volunteer for Justice Teaching which promotes law-related education, held a presentation for about 200 seventh graders. The event included different custody and arrest scenarios written by Chief Maas illustrating how the courts’ applications of the Miranda decision are applied in real life situations. Chief Maas, School Liaison Officer Patty Gonzalez, Detective Luke Plesa and Kathy Fernandez together with students, Zyad Sibai and Daniel Fruman were our actors. Ms. Carvajal engaged the students in critical thinking exercises, and I was the emcee. The students left with a new level of understanding of our Constitution and the due process rights of individuals when coming into contact with the police making them more well-informed and discerning citizens.