Terrorism Exception For Miranda Warnings Could Last 48 Hours


Criticized by Republicans as soft on terrorism, Attorney General Eric Holder and the rest of the Obama administration now are playing offense, offering to work with Congress on a law that would let law enforcement delay constitutional Miranda warnings to terror suspects, says the Associated Press. The shift would give investigators greater flexibility in the critical early phases of terror investigations.

The shift gives the administration some momentum while other terror-related dilemmas – where to try 9/11 suspects and where to relocate detainees from Guantanamo Bay – have faded as front-burner issues. “Clearly, the administration’s actions fit the old adage that good policy is good politics,” said Chicago-based Democratic consultant Eric Adelstein. “They are being tough on terror and forcing Republicans to make a choice.” It is not clear is how a change to the public safety exception in Miranda would work and how long it could delay providing the warnings. Miranda restricts using a suspect’s answers in his criminal trial if he has not first been notified of his right to remain silent and get a lawyer. Experts suggest a terrorism exception could last up to 48 hours – longer than a court-mandated public safety exception that already allows law enforcement to hold off Miranda warnings for a short period during emergencies to save lives.

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