The Supreme Court overturned a long-standing ruling that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant’s lawyer is present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects.
The high court, in a 5-4 ruling, overturned the 1986 Michigan v. Jackson ruling, which said police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one unless the attorney is present.
Justice Scalia, who read the opinion from the bench, said their decision will have a “minimal” effects on criminal defendants. “Because of the protections created by this court in Miranda and related cases, there is little if any chance that a defendant will be badgered into waiving his right to have counsel present during interrogation,” Justice Scalia said.
The Michigan v. Jackson opinion was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, the only current justice who was on the court at the time. He dissented from the ruling, and in an unusual move read his dissent aloud from the bench. It was the first time this term a justice had read a dissent aloud.
“The police interrogation in this case clearly violated petitioner’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel,” Justice Stevens said. Overruling the Jackson case, he said, “can only diminish the public’s confidence in the reliability and fairness of our system of justice.”
In reality, not much has changed. There is nothing to say you have to answer their questions and you would still be read your Miranda rights. I agree with the court on this one, the accused should be held responsible for their decisions, including the decision to talk to the police after they have been told they don’t have to.
Everyone should demand to have a “friendly” third party present for an “interrogation.” If not, it is a: he said, she said, issue. The truth of who did what and said what would always be questioned later. Law prof and cop agree: never ever ever ever ever ever ever talk to the cops about a crime, even if you’re innocent.
Freedom is not: doing everything you want to.
Freedom is: not having to do what you don’t want to do.
~ Joyce Meyer