It is Your Right to Remain Silent!

Celebrate Law Day in Franklin County at GCC
Law Day 2016 Explores the Right to Remain Silent

On May 1 the United States officially recognizes Law Day. It is meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognize its importance for society. Before President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared May 1 to be Law Day, U.S.A., the first day of May was known in some parts of the world as May Day: a day to remember the struggles of workers in their fight for better wages and working conditions. Celebrate on May 4th in Greenfield!

Why do the police “read citizens their rights” when arresting them? The practice of informing citizens of their right to remain silent stems from a U.S. Supreme court decision, the case Miranda vs. Arizona, in 1966. This court decision is in accordance with the idea that your rights are of no use to you if you don’t know what they are. Once informed of your right to remain silent, if you willingly choose to speak, you are waiving this right by choice. In doing so, you consent to the fact that your words may be used against you in court.

In the case of Ernesto Mirando’s arrest and interrogation, he provided a written confession without being informed of his right to counsel or the fact that the confession would be used against him in court. When prosecutors tried to use the confession in court, the defense argued that his confession was not truly “voluntary.” Miranda’s case was overturned and today, the recitation of rights which most of us are familiar with from the media, is known as a “Miranda warning.”

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Cinema of Law: Screenings at the Berkshire Athenaeum

Criminal Justice Review in Film, 2014

There’s a lot more to law than just Law and Order!  The legal system is not all arrests and gavels – it’s a complicated system to navigate, and its intricacies can be fascinating.  The Berkshire Bar Association (BBA)and the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, along with the Berkshire Law Library, are offering a film series filled with popular films following a law theme.  The four-part series is a mix of both documentary and fiction, both new and old!

Best for older high school and college students interested in criminal justice, the film series brings to light the reality of working in the legal system, whether as a lawyer, judge, or officer.  Students can learn about a branch of government not often examined in-depth, and will be able to enjoy some great cinema at the same time!  The films also help to promote the importance of understanding and engaging with government.

All films are free, and will take place at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.  Each film comes a legal subject and will be introduced by a member of the BBA. Screenings will be on Tuesday evenings at 6pm, beginning on March 4th and include… Read the rest of this entry »

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