Let's say you are the judge in American Taliban John Walker's case. His attorney asks you to throw out the hours of confessions federal agents have — those that Walker signed on paper or made on videotape, complete with signed waivers of his right to a lawyer...
Let's also say that there is enough evidence to conclude that Walker had indeed asked for an attorney — as his present lawyer now claims — a week before the interrogations that produced the damning confessions began.
Would you the suppress the evidence we already have? (Keep in mind, that would force the government to prosecute without evidence, or without much evidence, and might assure an acquittal for this Marin County Jihadist.)
Or… would you say: To hell with it. The confession comes in because in this case, the truth counts more than the fine points of Mr. Miranda's warning.
I would say: Bring the evidence in. Let the jury hear it. I'd dare a court above me to overturn a conviction and turn this terrorist loose. Here's why:
The government had not only a right, but a duty to ignore John Walker's Miranda rights. He had information on Usama bin Laden and Mullah Omar and — perhaps — future terror attacks on the U.S.
If the Miranda warning was going to allow a lawyer to stop the interrogation process, and so prevent the government from finding out about terrorists in the U.S, that would be a bad, bad thing.
So even if Walker asked for an attorney, our Feds should have said: Yeah right, later… and then squeezed the information they needed out of him anyway.
Normally, such confessions would not be allowed to be used against a defendant. But in this case, I would let the evidence in, even if they were in violation of Walker's Miranda rights, especially if any of the following were true:
1. If Walker knew of the Sept. 11 attacks in June, as some allege, and still did nothing to send a warning. If he's guilty of that, his Miranda rights are trumped.
2. If Walker knew the U.S. government was engaged in a war with the Taliban and the Al Qaeda network, but decided to side with them anyway. Disloyalty trumps Miranda.
3. If Walker actually fired on American troops with the intent to kill. Treason trumps Miranda too.
Let's not kid ourselves. This isn't a convenience store robbery. This is way more serious than Miranda.
That's My Word.
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