Barack Obama administration seeks to change police questioning law

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

As an Illinois state senator, Obama sponsored a bill to require the police to videotape interrogations in capital crime cases.  Illinois was the first state to do this.

Now, the Obama administration is urging the US Supreme Court to overturn a landmark decision that stops police from questioning suspects unless they have a lawyer present.  Nineteen former judges and prosecutors, including Larry Thompson (ex-deputy attorney general) and Williams Sessions (former FBI director), have urged the Supreme Court to leave the 1986 ruling intact.

The Michigan vs Jackson ruling in 1986 established that, if a defendants have a lawyer or have asked for one to be present, police may not interview them until the lawyer is present.  Any such questioning cannot be used in court even if the suspect agrees to waive his right to a lawyer because he would have made that decision without legal counsel, said the Supreme Court.  

The US Justice Department is arguing that the existing rule is unnecessary and outdated.  The sixth amendment of the US constitution protects the right of criminal suspects to be “represented by counsel”, but the Obama regime argues that this merely means to “protect the adversary process” in a criminal trial.  

The Justice Department, in a brief signed by Elena Kagan, the solicitor general, said the 1986 decision “serves no real purpose” and offers only “meagre benefits”.

Critics argue that the 1986 decision is important to protect vulnerable defendants such as the mentally disabled, poor or juveniles who could be easily swayed by the police.

“Your right to assistance of counsel can be undermined if somebody on the other side who is much more sophisticated than you are comes and talks to you and asks for information,” said Sidney Rosdeitcher, a New York lawyer who advises the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University.

So according to the Obama administration, the criminal rights of the mentally disabled, poor and juvenilles are too meager to be bothered with, and the Bush administration’s crimes are too important to look back on in anger or with thoughts of revenge.  

Where the hell are their high priced consultants, their values, their heads?  There is no way this administration can sell taking away rights and justice from America’s most vulnerable while protecting torturers and fraudulent banks.  If this isn’t morally and politically bankrupt on all counts, I don’t know what is.  

Somebody really needs to let President Obama in on the screwed up messages “the Obama administration” is sending out in his name, and Democrats better remember that even the Iraq war got a honey moon.  If Obama and the Democrats don’t deliver the change they promised, they will lose to it; and this country can’t afford to have them blow another opportunity to enact the progressive change that the people and the country so urgently need.  Democrats can either be the hero and keep power for 30 – 40 years, or they can be the goat and concede power in 4 years.    

I want to believe, but he keeps pissing me off.  

tip of the hat and cross posted here



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    • dkmich on April 26, 2009 at 19:05


    • Viet71 on April 26, 2009 at 21:37

    There are more pressing issues.

    • Viet71 on April 26, 2009 at 21:37

    There are more pressing issues.

    • dkmich on April 27, 2009 at 19:26

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