reblogged – what has changed since?
Deaf suspects are asked routinely to sign the Miranda Warning Waiver affirming they waive their rights. What does this mean? For the police and detective this means that the deaf person understands the six statements of the Miranda and read it with comprehension. When they sign their name on the waiver, this means they waiver their rights to remain silent, seek an attorney before questioning and so on. However, the deaf person may sign their name and have a different view. A deaf defendant who may read at the third grade or below may not be able to read the Miranda. They may put their signature on the document simply to appear cooperative. How can the detective determine if the deaf person understands the Miranda Warning? One way is to have a sign language interpreter present. This rarely happens. Typically, police and detectives relay on written communication and lipreading which are rarely effective for deaf defendants whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). Two viewpoints–one from the detective or police and one from the deaf defendants. The police and detectives run the risk of having their interrogation and confessions of the defendant thrown out of court or suppressed if they fail to provide for a sign language interpreter. This is not only Federal law but is found in many state statutes as well. What is the answer? More education for detectives and police about the difficulties deaf adults have in comprehending the Miranda.