A new tool measures how well a defendant understands Miranda warnings.
Developed by Richard Rogers, a professor of psychology at University of North Texas and a Miranda expert, the Standardized Assessment of Miranda Abilities (SAMA) is a form of standardized test that measures a person’s vocabulary and comprehension of the wording typically used in Miranda warnings. The test also assesses a person’s knowledge, beliefs and misconceptions that may affect his or her choice to exercise or waive Miranda rights, as well as a person’s reasoning skills and tendency to acquiesce to authority.
The assessment test has five sections: a Miranda quiz consisting of 25 true-or-false questions measuring common misconceptions about Miranda rights; a Miranda vocabulary scale that measures how well an individual understands 36 key words typically used in Miranda warnings; a Miranda comprehension template that assesses a person’s ability to paraphrase the meaning of the warning; a Miranda acquiescence questionnaire that looks at how easily a person gives in to authority; and a Miranda reasoning measure that assesses the test-taker’s thoughts and reasoning at the time of the warning and waiver.
According to the website of PAR Inc., the company that markets the SAMA, extensive validation studies were conducted for all five sections using pretrial defendants with pending criminal charges.