Most TV viewers know this one by heart: "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 speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense." It was on this day in 1966 that the US Supreme Court ruled that suspects must be clearly advised of these Rights prior to questioning, overturning the kidnap and rape conviction of Ernesto Miranda. Miranda didn't go free, by the time of the ruling the police had gone out and done their homework and were able to convict him without the confession they had guided him to.
The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased.
– Alexander Hamilton, 1755 – 1804
I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.
– Desmond Tutu
By far the most numerous and most flagrant violations of personal liberty and individual rights are performed by governments … The major crimes throughout history, the ones executed on the largest scale, have been committed not by individuals or bands of individuals but by governments, as a deliberate policy of those governments – that is, by the official representatives of governments, acting in their official capacity.
– John Hospers
Strange that we all defend our wrongs with more vigor than we do our rights.
– Kahlil Gibran, 1883 – 1931
If public officers will infringe men's rights, they ought to pay greater damages than other men, to deter and hinder other officers from the like offences.
– Lord Holt, Judgment in Ashby vs. Aylesbury, 1702
Anglo-Saxon civilization has taught the individual to protect his own rights; American civilization will teach him to respect the rights of others.
– William Jennings Bryan, 1860 – 1925