MD Case At High Court Could Ease Miranda Doctrine


The Supreme Court takes up a high-profile Annapolis, Md., murder case tomorrow, looking at an issue that has the potential to alter police interrogations around the country, reports the Baltimore Sun. Three years after an Annapolis businessman was fatally shot and run over by assailants in his carjacked sport utility vehicle, experts believe that the case of freed suspect Leeander “Sweater” Blake may provide the U.S. Supreme Court with the opportunity to ease a rule that has controlled interrogations since 1981.

At issue is whether police, after violating a suspect’s invoked right to a lawyer, can repair the damage so that a suspect can initiate the questioning. Authorities say Blake implicated himself in the killing, but his statement to police was tossed out. A judge ruled that the damage caused by pressing him to change his mind about wanting a lawyer could not be undone. Supporters of the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling that compels police to advise suspects of their rights see the Blake case as an alarming threat to a suspect’s right to have a lawyer. The protection establishes a clear line for what’s allowed and what’s not, they say. Advocates for relaxing protections for suspects view the Annapolis case as a step toward bringing more balance to a justice system that they believe went too far in coddling criminal defendants. They say there should be a gray area with circumstances that allow for remedying a violation of a suspect’s right to an attorney.


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