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“You have the right to remain silent…”

Obstacles to understanding the Miranda warning

TASA ID: 1475

On September 13, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. (ET), The TASA Group, in conjunction with linguistics expert Alan Perlman, presented a one-hour interactive webinar presentation, “You have the right to remain silent…” Obstacles to understanding the Miranda warning, for all legal professionals.

This session explained why the Miranda warning is so easily misunderstood (or not understood at all); the result is the abrogation of rights that the warning was designed to protect.  Numerous factors contribute to the poor comprehension (and low readability scores):

  • the situation and contexts in which the warning is used;
  • the special linguistic abilities required for understanding it;
  • the grammar, vocabulary, event sequencing, and other features of the text. 

The listener must comprehend all of this in less than a minute, which is the time it takes to deliver the warning, and sometimes obstacles are concurrent, thus multiplying the burden of comprehension.  Alan concluded with a suggested workaround, which is markedly different from the standard version but accomplishes the intended aims.

About the Expert:

Alan Perlman is a linguistics expert, applying the principles of linguistics and insights from many years of analyzing language, both as an academic and as a professional writer to the examination of legal issues involving authorship, plagiarism, copyright infringement, and the interpretation of contracts and other binding documents.

Note: This webinar was approved for CLE credit in CA, NJ, PA, and IL.

Disclaimer: Please remember that if you are applying for CLE credit you must attend for the full 60 minutes of the LIVE presentation, not the ONDemand version. If a participant is seeking credit in states we are not approved to issue credit and the participating party seeking credit incurs a fee to receive said credit, it is not the obligation of TASA to remit payment for such credit. It is the participant's obligation to remit payment to the state in which they would like to receive credit.

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