Should Congress Loosen the Miranda Rule?

By Kamika Dunlap on May 12, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Obama administration is considering a more flexible Miranda rule when it comes to handling terrorism suspects.

The proposal, supported by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., is before Congress and would allow investigators to interrogate terrorism suspects before advising them of their rights, the New York Times reports.

Holder said the goal of the proposal to loosen the Miranda rule is to expand the public safety exception and give terrorism interrogators more flexibility when questioning suspects.

The proposal comes against the backdrop of criticism over the handling of Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the Times Square case and terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is alleged to be involved in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt.

Until now, the Obama Administration has defended the criminal justice system as strong enough to handle terrorism cases.

However, the administration now advocates a loosening of the Miranda rule.

The administration is looking at the traditional limits of how long suspects may be questioned without being warned of their rights.

As previously discussed, the Miranda warnings arose out of a 1966 case, Miranda v. Arizona, finding that the Constitution required criminal defendants be advised of their right not to incriminate themselves and their right to an attorney before and during questioning by the police.

Implementing a more a flexible Miranda rule may help with questioning of terrorism suspects.

But still, some critics say these kinds of suspects should not be handled as ordinary criminal defendants. Instead, the argument goes, terrorism suspects should be imprisoned and interrogated as military detainees.

Despite the political furor over reading terrorism suspects their Miranda rights, it is not clear that doing so has had a major impact on recent interrogations.


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