Piece by Piece

1 Jun

Supreme Court backs off strict enforcement of Miranda rights

By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington —

The Supreme Court retreated from strict enforcement of the famous Miranda decision on Tuesday, ruling that a crime suspect’s words could be used against him if he failed to clearly invoke his rights clearly and, instead, answered a single question after nearly three hours of interrogation.

In the past, the court has said the “burden rests on the government” to show that a crime suspect has “knowingly and intelligently waived” his rights.

But in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the court said the suspect had the duty to invoke his rights. If he failed to do so, his later words can be used to convict him, the justices said.

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