Supreme Court Backs Off Strict Enforcement of Miranda Rights

Once a suspect has been informed of his rights, he has the duty to invoke them, the justices say. The decision reinstates a murder conviction based largely on a suspect’s one-word answer to police.

David G. Savage

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The Supreme Court backed off Tuesday from strict enforcement of its historic Miranda decision, ruling that a crime suspect’s words can be used against him if he fails to clearly tell police that he does not want to talk. In the past, the court said the “burden rests on the government” to show that a crime suspect had “knowingly and intelligently waived” his rights. Some police departments tell officers not to begin questioning until a suspect has waived his rights, usually by signing a waiver form.

 

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