Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rethinking Miranda

'Miranda' Dealt One-Two Punch by High Court

In decisions issued on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Court ruled that confessions should be admitted at trial even when police interviewed suspects in circumstances that lower courts viewed as Miranda violations.

The Court on Wednesday issued Maryland v. Shatzer (pdf), establishing new, more permissive rules for police who want to question a suspect for a second time after the suspect invokes Miranda's right to remain silent.

The Maryland case came down a day after the justices decided Florida v. Powell (pdf), in which a 7-2 majority Court said that Florida's alternative wording of the Miranda warning is acceptable, even though it does not explicitly state that a suspect has a right to have a lawyer present during questioning.

The idea of "once Mirandized, always Mirandized" was insane to begin with. And any expression of the Miranda warnings that gets the point across shouldn't be thrown out just because it doesn't follow Joe Friday's exact wording.