In 1955 Ernest Miranda's problems all began when his mother died while he was in grade school. Ernest and his father never got along well. His father ended up remarrying. Ernest did not like his new stepmother. His antisocial behavior really started to show up at this stage of his life. He kept his distance from his father and stepmother, as well as his brothers. He was a chronic truant and had his first criminal conviction when he was in the eighth grade. The following year, Miranda was arrested and convicted of burglary and sentenced to a year in reform school. .
In 1956, about a month after he was released from the Arizona State Industrial School for Boys, Ernest was walking home one night when he happened to glimpse at a nude woman lying on a bed in her home. Miranda thought this was an invitation to enter the home, the door was unlocked and he let himself in. He got on the bed with the woman, attempted but failed at having intercourse with her, he remained in bed with her until her husband came home and called the police. Miranda was returned to reform school for another year.
At the age of eighteen Miranda decided to move to another state. He headed to Los Angeles and within months of his arrival there he had been arrested on suspicion of armed robbery along with some minor sex offenses including being caught in the act of a peeping Tom. After his arrest and a two and a half month detention on the armed robbery charges, authorities felt the people of California would be better off without him and deported the eighteen year old back to Arizona. .
Miranda with his lengthy criminal record, few job skills and no family support, did the only logical thing he could think of while facing his hardship, he joined the army. Even Uncle Sam's help did not change Ernest Miranda. His service record lists AWOL and voyeurism charges. Miranda spent six months in Fort Campbell, Kentucky stockade at hard labor.