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Don’t hold your breath to see any expansion of Miranda

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Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), must be kept sacrosanct, so that law enforcement will properly advise suspects in custody of their right to remain silent, and honor that right, so that the Fifth Amendment has real meaning in assuring that one not be required to be a witness against himself. Miranda must not be allowed to become a farce.

Good luck, though, seeing any expansion of Miranda, nor any defendant-friendly clarifications of its reach. For instance, yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 (with the three — penned by Justice Ginsburg and joined by Justices Breyer and Sotmayor — joining in a partial concurrence and partial dissent) that no Miranda warnings are required to a prison inmate brought to a prison interrogaton room without his request, to be interrogated by police about allegations or pre-incarceration crime, where the inmate was told he was not required to stay in the interrogation room. Howes v. Fields, ___ U.S. ___ (Feb. 21, 2012).

Where, I ask, was the inmate going to go to leave these interrogating cops? Pizza Hut? How quickly would he have been permitted to leave the interrogation room? He found that out when he finally declined to talk further, and waited around a good time to be returned to his cell; inmates at all but the most minimum of security prisons are not permitted to roam the halls unescorted.