Law Day focus on Miranda

Every year since 1958, the nation has marked May 1 as Law Day, which provides an opportunity to commemorate the national ideals of liberty, justice, and equality under the law.

Locally, it will be celebrated 10 a.m., April 29, in Yosemite Valley in the field behind Yosemite Elementary School at the foot of Yosemite Falls.

Four hundred eighth-graders from surrounding rural communities will travel by bus to the event, where presentations include Susan Estrich, Federal Judicial officers, and the Federal Bar Association president speaking on the Rule of Law.

This year’s Law Day theme is “Miranda: More than Words” to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona.

In Miranda, the court held that law enforcement personnel must advise a suspect of his or her rights in order to use statements made during a custodial interrogation in a later criminal proceeding.

The Miranda warning has become so ingrained that many know all or some of its words, starting with, “You have the right to remain silent.”

Yet, as the Law Day theme implies, there is much more to Miranda than the words of the warning. it has become a living symbol of the importance of procedural fairness and equal justice under the law in our criminal justice system.

Unfortunately, as a nation, many challenges still remain in effectuating our national pledge of “justice for all,” including dealing with racial disparities in the justice system, disproportionate sentencing, and inadequately funded public-defense systems.

The public is invited to attend.

Staff report