The Miranda Rule

May 20, 2010

The Miranda rule, which the Supreme Court recognized as a constitutional right in its 1966 decision Miranda v. Arizona, requires that suspects be informed of their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights "prior to interrogation" if their statements are to be used against them in court.

In essence, to be "Mirandized" is to be "read your rights."

In 1984, the Supreme Court carved out an exception to the Miranda rule in its decision New York v. Quarles which determined that if there's an imminent threat to public safety, suspects can be questioned about the threat before they are read their rights and their statements can still be used against them.

Recently, in the wake of two failed terrorism attacks, Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that he and the Obama administration will be asking Congress to “modernize” and “clarify” the public safety exception of the Miranda warning. However, there is no evidence that Miranda has obstructed the government from obtaining info from arrested suspects in terrorism cases and Attorney General Holder himself has said that terrorism suspects provided info to the FBI after being informed of their right to remain silent.

The American Civil Liberties Union strongly rejects the proposal as unconstitutional and is urging both the attorney general and Congress to keep their hands off Miranda.

Releases
> Broad Coalition Urges Attorney General To Leave Miranda Warnings Intact (5/17/2010)
> Attorney General Asks Congress To Dilute Miranda Warning (5/13/2010)
> Attorney General Proposes Altering Miranda Protections In Terrorism Cases (5/10/2010)
> ACLU Calls On Administration And Congress To Follow The Rule Of Law In Terrorism Cases (5/4/2010)

Resources
> Coalition Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Urging Against Proposed Changes to Miranda Warnings

Blogs
> Miranda: If it Ain't Broke… (5/19/2010)

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