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will the new Miranda please stand up?

Here we go again.  Mr. Cheney Mason, of the Casey Anthony Defense team, is redressing his Miranda motion, in which he argues that Casey was questioned by authorities while she was effectively in “custody”.

However, as I discussed in a January 18th post, the Miranda Rights Law (based on Miranda v. Arizona) was, in June of 2010, changed by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Berghuis v. Thompkins case.

The United States Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to change Miranda v. Arizona, which has held fast since 1966.  In the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, a person suspected of committing a crime would have to have their right to an attorney and their right to remain silent read to them before authorities could question them.  If these rights were not read, and if the suspect subsequently talked a blue-streak and incriminated themselves – too bad, so sad, said the law at that time.

The 2010 Change to Miranda

The 2010 Supreme Court decision to change Miranda v. Arizona was controversial.  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor remarked that this new ruling “turns Miranda upside down” and “marks a substantial retreat from the protection against compelled self-incrimination.”

Regardless, in this new Miranda ruling, referred by the case Berghuis v. Thompkins, a suspect must make the invocation of their rights crystal clear, and then stop talking.  A suspect can no longer expect to be protected by Miranda, though they will still be read their rights, it is incumbent on the suspect to stop talking.

There were times when the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling worked against Law Enforcement.  If the Miranda Rights were not read and the suspect confessed, anything the criminal may have said would not be admissible in trial.  Of course this is to protect the citizenry against inadvertently saying the wrong thing, or being pressured into incriminating themselves, but it may also allow a guilty person to go free.  It was a double-edged sword, of sorts.

The Revised Defense Motion

A revised motion was filed today by Mr. Mason that asks to suppress not only Casey Anthony’s statements at her home and at Universal Studios, but also asks to suppress her discussion with law enforcement on the day of her indictment, when she was in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office interview room and on camera.

READ the motion: Amended Motion to Suppress Statements.

Is the Updated Miranda Rights Ruling Retroactive?

What is unclear at this time, is whether the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling will apply to an arrest in 2008.  Common sense tells me that yes, it would be retroactive, though I am not 100% sure.

Cheney Mason contends that Casey Anthony was held against her will at Universal Studios.  Yuri Melich was very clear when he told Casey that they were in the conference room for privacy but the door was unlocked and she could leave at any time. This hardly infers Casey was in custody.

With regards to all the statements made by Casey Anthony early on, before she invoked her rights, if Berghuis v. Thompson applies, all these statements will come in.

I will continue to research this question of whether the Berghuis v. Thompkins Supreme Court ruling on Miranda will look back and cover open cases.

However, even without the application of the Supreme Court ruling, the redressed motion by Cheney Mason will probably not be successful.   I believe that anyone would be hard-pressed to find any fault with the actions of the OCSO.

(Too bad, so sad!)

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