2-Weeks Between Interrogations: “Complete Judicial Creation”


Until yesterday, if a suspect refused to talk without an attorney, police were supposed to leave him alone. Once the suspect was freed, it was not clear whether police could make a second attempt at interrogation or how long they had to wait. Now the Supreme Court has set a bright line of 14 days. After that, police must readvise a suspect of his rights, but if this time they can get him to talk without a lawyer, the confession can be admitted in court, reports National Public Radio.

Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia conceded it is unusual for the court to “set forth precise time limits governing police action.” George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg says the ruling “provides very clear guidance to the police” and “gives people a chance to be free from police coercion.” He adds: “The most surprising thing is that Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, because he’s constantly criticizing the court for making up rules. And this 14-day rule is a complete judicial creation. It comes out of nowhere.” Stanford law professor Jeffrey Fisher says the ruling shows how the court has moved away from worrying about the coercion of suspects.

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