PASSINGS: Harold Berliner, Michael Adams

Harold Berliner

Former D.A. helped write Miranda warning

Harold Berliner, 86, a former district attorney in California’s Nevada County who helped write and popularize the Miranda warning, died Monday at his home near Grass Valley of age-related complications, said his daughter, Judith.

In 1966, he attended a meeting of California district attorneys to discuss how law enforcement officials should implement a new rule issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda vs. Arizona that ordered police to inform suspects in custody of their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.


California Atty. Gen. Thomas Lynch asked Berliner and Deputy Atty. Gen. Doris Maier to craft a quick and easy statement that officers could recite during arrests.

Within two hours, they turned out what is believed to be the first written version of the Miranda warning, starting with seven words written by Berliner: “You have the right to remain silent.” The California version is the mostly commonly used and is known worldwide to audiences of Hollywood movies and TV shows.

“I have never considered it a piece of Americana,” Berliner told the Sacramento Bee in 2000. “I just think it was a job and I did it.”

Berliner, who also produced limited-edition books at his Nevada City business, printed and sold wallet-size Miranda cards to law enforcement agencies.


Harold Anthony Berliner II was born in 1923 in San Francisco. He earned a law degree at the University of Notre Dame, passed the State Bar exam in 1951 and began practicing law. He was elected to four terms as district attorney.

Michael Adams, an actor, stuntman and stunt coordinator, died April 18 at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Santa Clarita after suffering a stroke, said publicist Joel Coler. He was 60.

— Times staff and wire reports

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