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Column: Former Assist. U.S. Atty. Says Miranda Warning Works Just Fine In Terrorist Cases

Steven Levin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland and North Carolina for 10 years before forming a law firm Levin & Gallagher.  He had previously  served on active duty for seven years in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney  and a trial attorney.  He is the co-author of a blog on white collar crime called Fraud With Peril.

Steve Levin

Steve Levin

By Steven Levin

Attorney General Holder’s approval rating dropped about as quickly as the Dow Jones did last Thursday when he told Congress in March of this year that he predicted that “we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

Perhaps recognizing that his inartful comment only served to confuse his supporters and outrage his detractors, he tried again in April when he told Congress that the evidence against Bin Laden was “sufficient” enough that, assuming he were captured, any additional statements by him would not be necessary. I may be among the minority of Americans (whether a supporter or a detractor) who believes AG Holder’s initial statement was better than his clarification.

When Miranda v. Arizona was argued before the Supreme Court in 1966, the government warned the Court that the required use of procedural safeguards “effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” would more or less result in the end of successful interrogations.

In other words, once an accused were informed that he had, say, the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations, the accused would naturally invoke those rights and a confession would rarely, if ever, follow.

Most people involved in the criminal justice system would disagree with this dire forecast and confirm that it is extremely common for an accused to waive his rights. (Of course, there are exceptions: Miranda himself was eventually killed in a knife fight in 1976 by a suspect who, ironically, invoked his Miranda rights.)

Read more »

Pakistani Taliban Directed NY Car Bomber to Use Cash to Hide Trail

cash2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The failed N.Y. car bomber Faisal Shahzad was told by the Pakistani Taliban to pay cash for everything to avoid leaving a trail, the Los Angles Times is reporting.

“He paid cash for his gun and he paid cash for the van he acquired,” a source told the Times. “He was told to be very careful about not letting anything track back to him. No receipts, and no paper. No nothing.”

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit and said the Pakistani Taliban was intimately involved in the plot.

“We’ve now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,” Holder said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it. And that he was working at their direction.”

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty Gen. Eric Holder Favors Modifying Miranda Warning to Give Interrogators More Flexibility

Atty. Gen. Holder on Sunday morning

Atty. Gen. Holder on Sunday morning

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. holder hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit, saying he favors a change in the way Miranda warnings are issued to terror suspects so interrogators have more flexibility.

“I think we have to think about perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have and some how coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now see,” Holder said on Meet The Press.

The statement was in response to the latest case involving terrorist suspect Faisal Shahzad who tried blowing up a car bomb in New York.

Specifically, Holder talked about the public safety exception that was used with Shahzad before he was eventually read his Miranda warning. The exception allows investigators to question a suspect initially to find out if there’s an immediate danger to the public.

Read more »

Column: ATF Needs a Little Love in Times Square

times square artBy Jeff Stein
SpyTalk

WASHINGTON — Poor ATF: It don’t get no respect.

NYPD’s Ray Kelly, Attorney General Holder and DHS honcho Janet Napolitano all heaped praise on themselves and each other for their fabulous work in the Times Square bomb case.

But the ATF? Nada. Out of sight, out of mind, evidently, overlooked like the acned geek at the high school prom.

This, even though ATF agents contributed some very nice work in helping to apprehend the accused would-be truck-bomber, Faisal Shahzad, particularly with their quick trace of a gun found in the suspect’s car. The ATF also had agents working with the NYPD’s bomb unit and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

“We didn’t want to push the issue,” Joseph Green, New York spokesman for the ATF, told SpyTalk Friday night.

Okay, I will.

To read on click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: History of the NY and Chicago Mob

FBI Agent Keith Byers Talks About Fighting Border Corruption

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbatfylpBmA

Highly Unusual: Pretrial Services Files Affidavit Correcting Fed Prosecutor

detroit1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a highly unusual move, the chief of Pretrial Services in Detroit filed an affidavit with the 6th Court of Appeals correcting claims by the federal prosecutor in the Hutaree Christian militia case, the Detroit Free Press reported.

At the center of the dispute is  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet, who is trying to block a judge from freeing the militia members pending trial.  Waterstreet in court papers has claimed that the electronic GPS monitoring was  “wholly inadequate to effectively supervise the defendants” who are accused of plotting to kill cops. He wants them to remain behind bars.

But chief  of Pretrial Services Alan Murray  wrote : “This affidavit is being submitted to correct the record, and any misunderstanding (Assistant U.S. Attorney) Mr. (Ronald) Waterstreet had about our conversation,” the  Detroit News reported.

“Contrary to Mr. Waterstreet’s belief, the court-ordered ‘home detention’ does not allow unmonitored release the entire day,” Murray said in the affidavit. “The Global Positioning Satellites System allows a defendant to be monitored, at all times.”

Read more »

Obama Expected to Name Solicitor Gen. Elena Kagan to Supreme Court, Politico Reports

Elena Kagan

Elena Kagan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama is expected to name Justice Department Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, reporter Mike Allen of Politico is reporting.

“The pick isn’t official, but top White House aides will be shocked if it’s otherwise,” Allen wrote.”Kagan’s relative youth (50) is a huge asset for the lifetime post. And President Obama considers her to be a persuasive, fearless advocate who would serve as an intellectual counterweight to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, and could lure swing Justice Kennedy into some coalitions.”

UPDATE: A White House official tried to knock down the report, calling it “pure speculation” and saying no final decision has been made, according to The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes.

Kagan, the former Harvard Law School dean, has been Solicitor General since March 2009.  She served in the Clinton White House, first as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Read NY Times Story on What She Might Be Up Against During Confirmation