Eric Holder: Miranda Rights Should Be Modified For Terrorism Suspects

9 May

Attorney General Eric Holder said for the first time today on ABC’s “This Week” that the Obama administration is open to modifying Miranda protections to deal with the “threats that we now face.”

“The [Miranda] system we have in place has proven to be effective,” Holder told host Jake Tapper. “I think we also want to look and determine whether we have the necessary flexibility — whether we have a system that deals with situations that agents now confront. … We’re now dealing with international terrorism. … I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections]. And that’s one of the things that I think we’re going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face.”

America’s system of Miranda rights developed out of a 1966 Supreme Court ruling which found that the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights of an alleged rapist and kidnapper, Ernesto Arturo Miranda, had been violated during his arrest and trial (Miranda was later retried and convicted).

The Court ruled that before being interrogated, a person in custody must (among other things) “be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court,” and that they “must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning.”

Holder, who was making his first appearance on a Sunday morning news show, also declared that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted bombing of Times Square by Faisal Shahzad last week.

“We’ve now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,” Holder said. “We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it. And that he was working at their direction.”

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2 Responses to “Eric Holder: Miranda Rights Should Be Modified For Terrorism Suspects”

  1. Ross Wolf May 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    Free Speech A Terrorist Act?

    U.S. Attorney General Holder recently suggested that government be allowed to postpone giving terrorist suspects Miranda warnings.

    The problem with Holder’s Miranda proposal is that government could arbitrary manipulate the timing of “Miranda warnings” to heavily favor the government to ensure certain statements made by a terrorist suspect, could be used in their prosecution. It should be noted that Attorney General Holder’s proposal to postpone Miranda warnings is all-inclusive; Holder has failed to distinguish between non-violent terrorist acts from violent terrorist acts—as a condition precedent to postponing Miranda Warnings. For example, non-violent terrorist acts” are covered in the Patriot Act to prosecute Persons that support “coercion to influence a government or intimidation to affect a civilian population.” Now consider how Holder’s proposed postponing of Miranda warnings could be used in conjunction with other laws, for example Sen. McCain’s recent introduced March 4, 2010, S.3081: The “Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.”

    S.3081 is so broadly written innocent anti-war protesters and Tea Party Groups might be arrested and detained just for attending demonstrations; Government would need only charge everyone attending a demonstration “materially supported hostilities” against U.S. Government or a civilian population to indefinitely detain unlawful demonstrators in military custody. Passage of S.3081 would permit U.S. Government to use “mere suspicion” to curtail an individual’s Constitutional Protections against unlawful arrest, detention and interrogation without benefit of legal counsel and trial. Under both Attorney General Holder’s proposal and Sen. McCain’s S.3081, Government would not be required to provide interrogated individuals Miranda Warnings or even an attorney: Your political opinions and statements made against U.S. Government could be used by Authorities to deem you either a terrorist or a “hostile” “Enemy Belligerent” to cause your arrest and indefinite detention.

    It is important that Americans not allow Attorney General Holder to jam his new Miranda proposal though Congress before U.S. Citizens have had an opportunity to examine the potential ramifications of Holder’s proposal.

    • rulersofusall May 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

      Yes, very American to deny people their free speech. Thank you, Ross, for posting this.

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