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Miranda Review Puts Liberty at Risk

November 27, 2002

Re "High Court to Hear Miranda Challenge," Nov. 24: Let me get this straight. First, police shoot an innocent man, then an Oxnard police supervisor fails to issue a Miranda warning and continues to verbally assault the victim to coerce a confession of guilt. This assault continues into the ambulance and the emergency room, interfering with the victim's treatment. Finally, the city of Oxnard pushes this case all the way to the Supreme Court to contest Miranda's interpretation that individuals have a constitutional right to avoid interrogation by police. This move is embraced by the Bush administration and the more radically right members of the Supreme Court, who are itching to put limits on Miranda.

Could there be any better case to demonstrate the problems with the Warren court's interpretation that police interrogation needs to be regulated? Here we have a gravely injured man whose access to treatment was impeded by police questioning. The supervising officer couldn't be relied on to distinguish between aggressive investigation and action that was tantamount to torture. We need the protections of Miranda more than ever, especially now that the mood of the country is to sacrifice any personal protection that could interfere with the war on terrorism.

Jeff Webster

Huntington Beach

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Your article about the high court hearing a Miranda challenge is chilling. On the heels of Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's arrogant claim that, merely on his whim, he has the power to strip any person he considers "an enemy combatant" of access to counsel or the courts, now comes the Miranda challenge? So now, the local police are to be free to interpret a citizen's rights? We don't have to wait to connect the dots with this administration. The picture is rapidly emerging, and it's very scary.

Jo Jordan

Studio City

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