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IPFS News Link • Criminal Justice System

Anti-war 9/11 families oppose Holder proposal to modify Miranda


During an interview Sunday on ABC television's current affairs talk show This Week, Attorney General Eric Holder suggested creating an exception to so-called Miranda rights established in a 1966 Supreme Court ruling that forbids prosecutors from using statements made by suspects before they have been warned that they have a right to remain silent.

"We're now dealing with international terrorists," the attorney general told NBC television. "And I think that we have to think about perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have and somehow coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face."

Monday morning, an anti-war organization for survivors of the September 11, 2001 attacks along with friends and family members of the victims, blasted the proposal.

Donna Marsh O’Connor, spokesperson for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, issued the following statement:

Last week law enforcement agencies including the FBI and the NYPD successfully aborted an attempt to kill Americans by following the rule of law. According to Attorney General Holder the suspect Faisal Shazad was apprehended, read his Miranda rights, and began to proffer information vital to US interests, continuing to speak to this day. There is already room in Miranda for postponing the reading of rights in the interests of public safety and this was, indeed, invoked. Surprisingly, in the face of this success, Holder now maintains that we should "revisit" Miranda laws for those apprehended for alleged terrorist activities. We urge caution and we invoke reason: we have laws that work to protect our citizens and our security. We should not proceed down a road that may become a slippery slope towards the curtailment of fundamental due process rights that have served this nation well.

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2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Justin Tyme (5787)
Entered on:

Correct me if I'm wrong...  But, the rights exist regardless of when Miranda Rights are read.  So, this would definately impact those individuals who don't know and/or understand their rights.  But, it's just a reminder to us all that we should NEVER talk to the authorities.  Yes?


Comment by Ross Wolf (28231)
Entered on:

U.S. Attorney General Holder has suggested, government be allowed to postpone giving terrorist suspects Miranda warnings.

The problem with Holder’s Miranda proposal is the government could arbitrary manipulate the timing of “Miranda warnings” to weigh heavily in favor of the government to ensure certain statements made by a terrorist suspect, could be used in their prosecution. It should be noted that Attorney General Holder’s proposal to postpone Miranda warnings is all-inclusive; Holder has failed to distinguish between non-violent terrorist acts from violent terrorist acts as a condition precedent to postponing Miranda Warnings. For example, non-violent terrorist acts" are covered in the Patriot Act to prosecute Persons that support “coercion to influence a government or intimidation to affect a civilian population.” But consider how Holder’s proposed postponing of Miranda warnings could be used in conjunction with other laws, for example Sen. McCain’s recently introduced March 4, 2010, S.3081: The “Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.” S.3081 is so broadly written innocent anti-war protesters and Tea Party Groups might be arrested and detained just for attending demonstrations; Government would need only charge that everyone attending a demonstration "materially supported hostilities" against U.S. Government or a civilian population to indefinitely detain demonstrators in military custody. Passage of S.3081 will permit U.S. Government to use “mere suspicion” to curtail an individual’s Constitutional Protections against unlawful arrest, detention and interrogation without benefit of legal counsel and trial. Like Attorney General Holder’s proposal, under Sen. McCain’s S.3081, Government would not be required to provide interrogated individuals Miranda Warnings or even an attorney. Your political opinions and statements made against U.S. Government could be used by Authorities to deem you a “hostile” “Enemy Belligerent” to cause your arrest and indefinite detention. It is important  Americans not allow Attorney General Holder to jam his new Miranda proposal though Congress before U.S. Citizens have had an opportunity to examine  the potential ramifications of Holder's proposal.