Reading Levels and Miranda Warning

The Miranda Warning and Waiver continues to be administered inappropriately to deaf suspects by police officers. This research article adds to a growing base of other research demonstrating how difficult the Miranda Warning is to read as well as to comprehend even with an ASL interpreter for most deaf suspects.

This article attached below is based on the research of the late Dr. Boley Seaborn. He developed the Miranda Warning and Waiver Test (MWWT-ASL). This is a bilingual test to assess the deaf person’s comprehension of the Miranda in written English and in ASL.  The six-item MWWT-ASL was administered to 34 participants.  Group 1 (n = 10) were deaf graduate students in Deaf Education who read at the 10th grade level or above. Group 2 (n = 14) were postsecondary deaf students at a community college whose reading levels ranged from sixth to eighth grade. Group 3 (n =10) were deaf postsecondary students in community college who read at the first to the third grade reading level. Dr. Seaborn found that deaf adults who are reading at the eighth grade level or below would be linguistically incompetent to understand the Miranda warning and waiver even if it is presented in both languages: ASL and English.


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