Obama administration to consider changing Miranda laws

05/10/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Washington, D.C.– As national security continues to come under fire, especially in the wake of the foiled bombing attempt in New York City, the Obama administration is considering making changes to the Miranda warning laws. The changes would alter the way police inform suspects of their rights, which could expand the “public safety exception” in the way police are able to delay reading a suspect the Miranda warnings, as reported by the Boston Globe.

Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Justice Department is examining “’whether or not we have the necessary flexibility’ to deal with terrorist suspects such as the Pakistani-born US citizen who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square last weekend… We’re now dealing with international terrorism… And if we are going to have a system that is capable of dealing in a public safety context with this new threat, I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public safety exception.’’

The potential change in laws is reportedly a response of the administration coming under relentless fire, mostly by conservatives, who claim the administration is too willing to read the Miranda rights to suspected terrorists.

Authorities are planning on putting together a proposal for the changes to the law, which will require suspects to be informed that they have the right to remain silent and that their statements may be used against them in court. Specific examples of changes were not available.

The public safety exception allows statements made before a suspect was read their Miranda rights to be used in court and in charging the suspects if police determine they need to obtain information quickly to prevent further crimes. Under current law, once an immediate threat is diminished, Miranda warnings must be read.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for government lawyers.

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