Constitution Project Troubled by Recent Proposals to Weaken Miranda Requirements

Attorney General Holder says administration may seek new legislation

CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or

WASHINGTON – The Constitution Project is troubled by proposals, including a suggestion by Attorney General Eric Holder, for legislation to allow law enforcement officials to interrogate terrorism suspects without notifying them of their legal rights under the Constitution. The attorney general, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday, said interrogators need greater flexibility in notifying suspects of their rights to remain silent and to an attorney, established in the Supreme Court’s landmark case Miranda v. Arizona.

The following can be attributed to Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project:

“Any exception to Miranda based on the type of offender or type of offense is unnecessary and dangerous. An exception to the Miranda requirement already exists, allowing for immediate interrogation to protect the public safety, and by all accounts, it appears to be working. With this exception already in place, there has been no demonstration of a legitimate need to further loosen the Miranda requirements.

“Some recent proposals would give law enforcement officials greater latitude to hold suspects within the criminal justice system and interrogate them for longer periods of time without advising them of their rights. Law enforcement officials have long supported the Miranda requirements and without a demonstrated need, the implications are simply too drastic for Congress to pursue such legislation. Cutting back on Miranda risks an erosion of the constitutional rights of all Americans.”

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