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There are now 17 comments on pg 49. Miranda’s Fundamental Disconnect.
What are your thoughts?
  1. Gregory Bogosian says

    If the Supreme Court never intended to abolish custodial interrogation, then why did they keep saying that it is unconstitutional? Is it just so that the Supreme Court can save face?

  2. Robert Montrose says

    This is the problem I have with an unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court. I understand it was originally supposed to create an impartial and independent judiciary, but instead it has left us with an organ that feels free to warp, corrupt, and distort the plain meaning of the law for their own purposes. As we saw with the Civil Rights Cases and Plessy v. Ferguson, even when we explicitly amend our Constitution to correct any flaws in either it or their interpretation (Dred Scott v. Sandford), such action merely becomes subject to even more twisted “interpretations”. They do what they think is expedient and leave us picking up the pieces. I’ve just about had it with them. I’d suggest they should be augmented by a co-equal jury tasked with safeguarding the diminishing sanity in constitutional law.

    • Do you really think that an elected Supreme Court would have decided Plessy v. Ferguson any other way? They would have been thrown out of office the next election cycle. Do you really think that a jury of white men selected in 1894 would have challenged their decision in Plessy v. Ferguson?

      What we really need is the Council of Seraphim originally proposed in Federalist 51.

      • Oops, Pv.F was in 1896.

        And I’m being needlessly obtuse in the last sentence. I refer to the following quote from James Madison: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

        The people sitting on the benches of the SCOTUS are still drawn from the society of the times and still subject to some degree to the fashions of the day.They may studied philosophy and gone to school and tried to teach themselves to be above it, but they still fail because they are human. If you want them to make decisions that are radically at odds with society (unless you think that Plessy v. Ferguson was decided in a time of basic racial equality…) you need to figure out a way to isolate them even *more* from society and closer to Truth and Justice…however one defines those.

    • You’re basically completely offbase. The courts’ tasks is to interpret the law as it is written. This requires interpretation in order to resolves points of conflict, but it is hardly as willynilly as you believe. Court decisions only really become a thing when two laws are in conflict. These conflicts are resolved based on priority, precedence, intent, and societal mores. And by and large the courts do a good job of interpreting the laws as written.

      If you dont like the decisions, if you dont like their itnerpretations of the law…then change the law.

        • Oh, just wait ’til we get to Constitutional Law. Because the Warren Court did the same thing with Brown as it did with Miranda — it wasn’t a decision that advanced racial justice, but rather one that killed all further advancement. Individual justice was abandoned for a “well, if you follow this rule then it’s all okay” generality.

          But I’m getting ahead of myself…

  3. Gregory Bogosian says

    So is the moral of this story “If you try to sound like you care about the rights of the accused when you really only care about making law-enforcement effective, then everyone will hate you”?

  4. Jon D says

    This may be something that will be addressed in upcoming comics, but the thought that always strikes me whenever the advice “keep your mouth shut until your lawyer arrives” is given is “what if my statement would provide the police with a time sensative lead?”

    Obviously my prime concern in such a situation would be to avoid being convicted of anything, and outright refusal to talk is the best technique to protect yourself against bein manipulated into or accidentally incriminating yourself somehow. But I would also want to see the real culprit caught, and would hate for this not to happen because I did not provide the investigators with a key clue in time for them to make use of it. Or even just that they never suspected me at all, but being tied up waiting for the lawyer took time away they could have used to follow up on other leads while they were still fresh.

    For example, what if Richard Kimball from “The Fugitive” refused to talk to the police until his lawyer arrived. Only then did he tell them about the one-armed man he fought with. Because of the delay in providing this statement, the police end up missing an opportunity to arrest the one-armed man while still covered in damning evidence, instead only interviewing him later when there is nothing left to tie him to the crime. (Probably not what happened in the show/film, but just an example)

    Is there ever a time when it would be advisable to cooperate with the investigators to some degree, before the lawyer arrives, or is the inherent risk of being coerced into a false confession, even if you are aware that they might try this and think you could stick to only making statements you think are important to help the investigation, such a dangerous and easy trap to fall into that refusal to cooperate altogether is the best tactic and easiest to stick to?

  5. John says

    I still feel like Miranda, or something like it, is a good idea, if implemented terribly. Implementation will always be a balancing act between principals and reality, the key is finding a happy medium. If Miranda worked as intended, I think that it would fit that medium perfectly. Of course the high pressure tends to override it a bit, maybe if the suspect had to explain what it meant in their own words on tape, to make sure people understand, and there was a tape of the officer confirming they know they don’t need to answer anything?

    It was gone over how many times people recant after being able to think about it. Maybe the simplest solution is to force time to reflect? On the signed confession there’s a part confirming that you have had 24 hours since you spoke to a police officer and you still want to confirm this confession. The problem is these interrogations are so useful for putting away people who would otherwise get off, but by definition, will be more effective against innocents.

    The practical key would be to somehow give innocents and not the guilty an out, but in a system that can be administered to everyone, regardless of if the cops think they are guilty or not.

    • Also just wanted to say great read, discovered this comic a bit less than a week ago and now totally bummed I’ve hit the most recent, keep up the good work. If I had a job I’d totally check out that Patreon but alas

    • Of course it’s a good idea. It informs people that they have rights, and has even put that idea into the public consciousness. The “problem” is that it sets a default – now, as long as the magic words are said, confessions are good. You have little to no chance to prove your confession was coerced, because you know you had a right to stop talking, and you didn’t.

      • Of course it’s a bad idea, as just shown here. Toss it entirely, and simply disqualify any statement made without an attorney present. In fact, better to require that the attorney do ALL of the talking, exactly as it’s done in court.

        Until this change is made, people will continue to get convicted for talking.

        • If the only correct thing for anyone to say is “I want a lawyer”, then why not make it the default.

  6. Mattias Pettersson says

    Thanks you for this. It’s great for a layman who’s not even subject to US law (I’m a Swede). I’ve never heard the perspective that the Miranda was a negative thing. I’m reading about local laws and apparently we got a similar thing through the EU in 2012 though it’s without specific language it seems the stated rights are less than the Miranda rights. No absolute guarantee to council for instance. It felt strange that that didn’t happen until 2012 but maybe that’s a good thing, I didn’t consider the negatives.

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