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Monday, December 7, 2009

Miranda me? Miranda you!

Today at the Supreme Court is a case on Miranda warnings. The court will decide a matter which has split the lower courts – whether the police officer sufficiently provided a warning to the suspect before the suspect signed that he understood his rights and then during the subsequent interrogation admitted that he owned the gun in question.

The standardized form used by the police read (my emphasis)

You have the right to remain silent.  If you give up this right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in court.  You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of our questions.  If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed for you without cost and before any questioning.  You have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during this interview.

I’m not really sure how this can not be read that the warning does not “reasonably convey” the substance of the suspect’s rights.

1) You have a right to ask a lawyer about the questions.
2) You can use any right any time.

It’s about as clear as it gets without Jerry Orbach acting it out - unless maybe the micro machines guy was the one reading them.

In this day and age I’m still surprised (especially with all the Law & Order spinoffs and reruns) that people don’t know that when you first have the tiniest suspicion that the police might potentially be thinking that you may have had least bit to do with anything possibly illegal – shut your yap!

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