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Supreme Court puts expiration date on ‘right to remain silent’

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David G. Savage
LA Times
Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Reporting from Washington – A crime suspect who invokes his “right to remain silent” under the famous Miranda decision can be questioned again after 14 days, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. And if he freely agrees to talk then, his incriminatory statements can be used against him.

In a 9-0 decision in a Maryland child-abuse case, the high court overturned a rule set in 1981 that barred the police from questioning a suspect once he had asked to remain silent and to speak with a lawyer.

Known as the “Edwards rule,” it was intended to prevent investigators from “badgering” a suspect who was held in jail after he had invoked his Miranda rights. In some cases, police had awakened a suspect in the middle of the night and asked him again to waive his rights and to admit to a crime.

In recent years, the rule has been understood to prevent police from ever requestioning a freed suspect, even for other crimes in other places. The justices said Wednesday that although the rule made sense for suspects who were held in jail, it did not make sense for suspects who had gone free.

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This article was posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:42 am





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