Saturday, June 5, 2010

Supreme Court backs away from Miranda

The Supreme Court in a controversial 5-4 decision, that highlighted the importance of Presidential elections that determine Supreme Court nominees, backed away from strict enforcement of Miranda Rights last week. Miranda Rights refer to rights specifically outlined in the United States Constitution that a criminal suspect may or not be aware they have.

The Miranda warning is so standard in United States criminal procedure that many of us are familiar with its basic form from television and the movies, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

The Supreme Court having long held that the "burden rests on the government" to show that a crime suspect had "knowingly and intelligently waived" his rights changed its position. The Court, packed with appointments made by King George the II, ruled in favor of coercive interrogation. (Clearly a policy the Bush-Cheney regime favored.) The Court decided that a suspect's words can be used against him if he fails to clearly tell police that he does not want to talk. The police are no longer required to get a statement of the subject's waiver of their right to remain silent before interrogating him.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the ruling "turns Miranda upside down" and "marks a substantial retreat from the protection against compelled self-incrimination."

One more step towards the Sovietizing of the United States.

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