Houston Matters

Film tells the untold story of the victim in the landmark Miranda Rights case

Filmmaker Michelle Danner thought convicted rapist Ernesto Miranda for too long held top billing in the story of how Miranda Rights came to be. So, she made a movie about ‘Miranda’s Victim.’


Emily VanCamp and Abigail Breslin in a scene from "Miranda's Victim."
Emily VanCamp and Abigail Breslin in a scene from “Miranda’s Victim.”


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Thanks to Law and Order and a dozen other cop shows, we all know the Miranda warning: “You have the right to remain silent," and all that.

But not so many of us know the story behind the language police are required to share with a suspect upon arrest.

Oh, maybe you know about Ernesto Miranda, who in 1963 confessed to rape, kidnapping, and robbery, and whose attorneys appealed, arguing he wasn't informed of his rights when he was arrested. The case wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966, which ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that police must inform suspects of rights to an attorney and against self-incrimination before questioning.

But that's not the story we’re talking about.

Filmmaker Michelle Danner thinks Miranda has had top billing in this story for too long. She tells the story of Miranda's Victim – that's the name of her new film screening Saturday at 9 p.m. at the WorldFest Houston film festival, starring Abigail Breslin, Donald Sutherland, Ryan Phillippe, Andy Garcia, Luke Wilson, and others. Danner's film is about Patricia “Trish” Weir (a pseudonym used in her the case), her abduction, rape, and long quest for justice.

Danner, who's also a longtime Hollywood acting coach, tells Houston Matters' Michael Hagerty she was surprised Weir's story hadn't been told before.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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