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Tag: miranda warning

Detroit Feds Score Victory; Judge Rules Incriminating Statements of Underwear Bomber Admissible


Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds in Detroit scored a victory in a pretrial battle against the man dubbed the “Underwear Bomber.”

The Detroit Free reports that U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds ruled Thursday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s incriminating statements he made to the FBI after the 2009 incident can be used in trial.

The paper reported that the judge concluded that Abdulmutallab wasn’t under the influence of the painkiller fentanyl when he confessed to the FBI that he was an al Qaeda operative who was trying to blow up the Northwest airlines plane bound for Detroit from Europe on Christmas Day in in 2009.

Edmunds also ruled that agents didn’t have to read him his Miranda rights before the interview because of concerns that there might have been other suicide bombers planning attacks that day.

“I’m satisfied based on the testimony… that he was in fact lucid, not confused and fully oriented,” Edmunds said following two days of testimony at an evidentiary hearing, according to the Free Press. “There was no reason to believe he didn’t understand the questions being asked or circumstances under which he was being asked those questions.”

She added: “I’m also satisfied there was a national security exception… that excused the giving of Miranda warnings.”

Agents eventually read the Miranda rights after questioning him for a while.

Jury selection is set to begin Oct. 4. Trial is set for Oct. 11.

 

FBI Memo Says Interrogators Can Delay Reading Miranda Warning to Terrorist Suspects

Faisal Shahzad

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An FBI memo issued in December says investigators can interrogate domestic-terror suspects longer without giving them a Miranda warning, according to a  Wall Street Journal report by Evan Perez.

The FBI memo  said the policy applies to “exceptional cases” where investigators “conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat,” the Journal reported. Interrogators would still need prior approval from FBI and Justice officials.

The controversy over the Miranda warning in domestic terrorism cases surfaced in December 2009 with the “underwear bomber” in Detroit and later the Times Square Bomber.

Both were initially questioned for a period of time before the Miranda warning was read.  The underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdumtallab, was questioned for less than an hour before the Miranda warning was read and Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, was questioned for about three hours before the warning was read, the Journal reported.

Some  Republican and Democrats felt the suspects should have been sent to military detentions where the Miranda rules don’t apply, the Journal reported. Other critics felt the Miranda warning was issued too soon, jeopardizing chances of getting more valuable information.

But at the time, the Obama administration countered by saying the suspects continued to cooperate after the Miranda warnings were read and provided value information.

On the other side, some feel the government has no right to take the Miranda warning away from domestic terrorists.

The FBI memo seems follow to some degree a 1984 amendment to the  1966 Miranda ruling which allows questioning of suspects for a limited time before issuing the warning.

Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, told the Journal that  “law enforcement has the ability to question suspected terrorists without immediately providing Miranda warnings when the interrogation is reasonably prompted by immediate concern for the safety of the public or the agents.” He said “the threat posed by terrorist organizations and the nature of their attacks—which can include multiple accomplices and interconnected plots—creates fundamentally different public safety concerns than traditional criminal cases.”

Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Journal that the administration’s tweaking of the law could have a downside.

“I don’t think the administration can accomplish what I think needs to be done by policy guidance alone,” he said.  “It may not withstand the scrutiny of the courts in the absence of legislation.”

For Atty. Gen. Holder: With the Tough Job Comes a Little Glamour

Vogue Magazine
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t been all glamour for Eric Holder Jr. as Attorney General. For one, there’s the less than friendly receptions on Capitol Hill from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who seem to enjoy grilling him like a burger at a 4th of July gathering.

Then there’s the  second guessing by the public, the political pundits and others on the Hill.

But there are times when the job does have some glamour.   Enter Vogue magazine. The magazine September issue has dedicated two-full pages of photos and then a two page write up on the guy it labels “Man of the Hour.”

Holder tells the magazine that the job is not easy. In fact, he shares, that his teenage son remarked that he doesn’t smile as much as he used to.

“You have a responsibility to keep the American people safe,” he tells the magazine. “It weighs on you. You literally go to bed and think, Have I done what I can?

He’s gotten grief over Gitmo, Miranda Warnings and the 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But he tells the magazine he’s unfazed by the negativity.

“It’s the reality of being the attorney general,” he says. “When I am dealing with some congressman who is trying to get me to engage so that he can end up on television, I have to think, What do I want people to think about this department 50 years from now?”

And then he offers an interesting perspective on the law.
“The law is not always right. “It kept my people slaves for years, segregate African-Americans, and kept women from voting, but it’s the place you go. You have to have an inner compass that tells you the right thing to do. That’s what I tell the people who work for me. Trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s where yo need to look.”

As for ambition, the magazine quotes former Justice colleague turned D.C. Judge Robert Richter: “Eric was never a particularly ambitious person. His goal was to make a difference, not end up on top.”

His wife, a physician, isn’t so certain, the magazine writes.

“It’s a question I wonder about. When I roll back the time and ask, ‘Did I think I was marrying a nakedly ambitious man?’ I answer no, but, then again, he was a judge at 38. In his case, I think, it’s there; it’s just not particularly offensive.”

Ex-FBI Agent Wants Director Mueller to Stand Up for Miranda Warning

Joe Navarro/ photo from his website

Joe Navarro/ photo from his website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A retired FBI agent well versed in interrogating spies and terrorists, says he wants FBI Director Robert Mueller III to speak up and defend the reading of Miranda Warnings to suspects, the website Spy Talk reported.

Retired agent Joe Navarro said the Miranda Warning — giving suspects the right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney — doesn’t inhibit questioning, according to the Spy Talk.

“In 25 years working as an FBI agent, I found that the Miranda decision did not interfere with me in either obtaining usable information or making prosecutable cases,” Navarro wrote in an opinion piece in the weekend Tampa Tribune, according to Spy Talk.

“Miranda doesn’t interfere with making cases,” he added. “Incompetent investigators do.”

“It is unfortunate that the current head of the FBI has refused to step forward and say, ‘This is the law, and FBI agents will abide by it, end of story. We can do our job with Miranda,’ ” Navarro wrote.

“Sadly, few people in government have risen up to set the record straight and demand respect for the law.”

LA Times Editorial: Messing With Miranda Warning “Bad Idea”

dea photo

dea photo

By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and the White House are floating the idea of legislation that would create a new exception to the Miranda rule for suspected terrorists. It’s not as outrageous as Sen. Joe Lieberman’s proposal that accused terrorists be stripped of their U.S. citizenship, but it’s still a bad idea.

In a television interview this week, Holder said only that he wanted to work with Congress on legislation to provide investigators with “necessary flexibility.”

To read Full Editorial click here.

Editorial From the Tennessean: Don’t Change Miranda Warning Law

scales-of-justice1By The Tennessean
Editorial Page

MEMPHIS — First give credit where it is due: to local New York and federal authorities who tracked down and apprehended the suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing.

In the nine days since Faisal Shahzad was placed in custody, he has been interviewed at great length and yielded much information, authorities say. After talking to authorities for four hours, Shahzad was read his rights. He continued to talk, officials say.

He has yet to appear in court on charges dealing with weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

If you think it sounds a lot like Guantanamo-style detention, you’re right. Given the suspect’s willingness to talk — and talk — you would think that federal authorities would be fairly pleased with the process.

So it was strange when, over the weekend, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on network news shows that he, and, therefore, President Barack Obama, are open to Congress placing limits on the rights afforded to terrorism suspects, even when they are American citizens.

To continue reading click here.

Column: Former Assist. U.S. Atty. Says Miranda Warning Works Just Fine In Terrorist Cases

Steven Levin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland and North Carolina for 10 years before forming a law firm Levin & Gallagher.  He had previously  served on active duty for seven years in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney  and a trial attorney.  He is the co-author of a blog on white collar crime called Fraud With Peril.

Steve Levin

Steve Levin

By Steven Levin

Attorney General Holder’s approval rating dropped about as quickly as the Dow Jones did last Thursday when he told Congress in March of this year that he predicted that “we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

Perhaps recognizing that his inartful comment only served to confuse his supporters and outrage his detractors, he tried again in April when he told Congress that the evidence against Bin Laden was “sufficient” enough that, assuming he were captured, any additional statements by him would not be necessary. I may be among the minority of Americans (whether a supporter or a detractor) who believes AG Holder’s initial statement was better than his clarification.

When Miranda v. Arizona was argued before the Supreme Court in 1966, the government warned the Court that the required use of procedural safeguards “effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” would more or less result in the end of successful interrogations.

In other words, once an accused were informed that he had, say, the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations, the accused would naturally invoke those rights and a confession would rarely, if ever, follow.

Most people involved in the criminal justice system would disagree with this dire forecast and confirm that it is extremely common for an accused to waive his rights. (Of course, there are exceptions: Miranda himself was eventually killed in a knife fight in 1976 by a suspect who, ironically, invoked his Miranda rights.)

Read more »