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There are now 12 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. phlebotomy says

    Since the US has no official language, what happens when an arrestee can’t properly “expressly invoke” their right due to language barriers, even if they manage to understand what they were told?

    • If they can’t communicate in english then there won’t be much of an issue until there’s a translator there anyway. If you understand what they’re saying then you can understand them invoking their rights.

      • “I wish to invoke my right to silence and representation under the 5th Amendment” is a hard sentence to formulate, especially if you’re being arrested in a foreign country! Much easier to screw up and give testimony.

        • Yeah, and “I no talk. I want lawyer!” gets the exact same message across. That narrows your problem down to people who speak enough English to incriminate themselves, but who don’t know what a lawyer is. Considering that most people who do speak English as a primary language don’t exercise their rights anyway, I can’t see it being that important that often.

      • Of course there’s an issue! Turn on tape recorder, then mirandize them. After that, it’s up to their lawyer to get the recording invalidated.

        • You’re imagining a situation where the suspect can’t communicate effectively in English, but understands English, so you ask him questions in English, record his answers in his native language, and then get them translated later?

          I would imagine that if the recording includes the suspect invoking his rights in his native tongue, then getting it suppressed would be pretty easy (IANAL). If he didn’t invoke his rights even in his native tongue, then I don’t see why he needs any more protection than a native English speaker who fails to invoke his rights.

      • Yell at him in what is to him incomprehensible English for hours, until his will to resist is broken, then bring in a translator, Mirandize him, and get an easy confession (if you’d let him have a translator earlier he could have stopped the demoralization at the beginning) which the courts will likely allow since they tend to ignore the question of coercion as long as a Miranda waiver is present.

        Even if he has some knowledge of English, it’s more likely that he’ll manage to incriminate himself in his broken pleading than that he’ll manage to invoke his rights properly.

  2. Marcel says

    Is that a tie fighter in the background on the airstrip?

  3. Thanks! I thought you’d get to her Miranda Rights eventually, and now I know.

    And Knowing is Half the Battle!

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