Law: Chip-Chip-Chipping Away

A new exception to MIRANDA'S "bright line"

For years now, the Burger Supreme Court has snipped at the boundaries of Warren Court precedents--too timidly for some conservatives; heavy-handedly to many liberals' way of thinking. The process has been especially prevalent in criminal-justice cases, and the court, having again scheduled a hefty batch of such rulings this term, continued its chip-chip-chipping away last week by taking a new chunk out of the Miranda rule. That familiar doctrine requires police to advise detained suspects of their rights to remain silent and to obtain a lawyer. When a suspect "voluntarily" makes a damning admission before being advised of these rights, said...

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