WATCH THE DEBATE: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MOVES TO ALLOW FOR LATITUDE IN PRE-MIRANDA INTERROGATIONS, BUT IS THIS MOVE CONSTITUTIONAL?
Here, in the 2011 Peter Jennings Project moot court, two eminent Supreme Court attorneys argue whether Miranda doctrine should be changed to allow terror suspects to be interrogated without first being informed of their rights Last week, the Obama Administration announced a dramatic switch on the procedures law enforcement personnel should follow when interrogating “operational terrorists” on issues that involved an “immediate” threat. The new rules, which ere outlined in a FBI memo, expanded the previous “public safety” exception to Miranda rights — the requirement that suspects first be informed that anything they say may be used in a court of law against them, that they have a right to an attorney and to remain silent. Heretofore, there had to be an “imminent threat” — a stricter standard than “immediate” — for pre-Miranda statements to be admissible in court. But the Obama justice department declared that the “magnitude and complexity” of the terrorism issue required a “significantly more extensive public safety interrogation without Miranda warnings than would be permissible in an ordinary criminal case.” Is the administration acting outside the constitutional guarantee of due process? On March 5 of this year, in a public program crafted by the NCC-sponsored Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution, two well-establshed Supreme Court litigators — Carter Phillips and Kanan Shanmugam — argued this very issue before a panel of distinguished federal judges. You can watch the moot court here.