Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court will review the 37-year-old Miranda vs. Arizona holding that suspects must be advised of their rights. In its term beginning in October, the Justices will review a Colorado case that could expand the rights of police to seize and use evidence in court even without a proper Miranda warning. The Denver Post quotes attorney Barry Schwartz as saying that the Supreme Court “could give immense breadth to what police can do while investigating terrorism. Conceivably, it could give police more leeway to violate more rights.” Schwartz worked on the appeals of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols. Schwartz added that “the rt also may say that Miranda is sacrosanct….There must be 1,000 requests to review Miranda. Why did they pick this case? A cynic’s view is because so many other rights are being eroded because of terrorism.”
The case involves a Colorado Springs man, Samuel Patane, 53, who was stopped by police in June 2001 for allegedly violating a restraining order to stay away from his ex-girlfriend. When police started to read the Miranda rights to Patane, who has a lengthy criminal record, he interrupted them and said he knew his rights. Patane then admitted he owned a Glock pistol, and gave it to police. Later, authorities learned Patane was a convicted felon, and he was charged with illegally possessing a weapon.