Pubdate: Tuesday, October 13, 1998
Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)
Copyright (c) 1998 The Fresno Bee
Author: Jonathan Richter


I agree with much that Mona Charen writes, but she is way off base on the
Miranda rule.

I am a criminal defense attorney and can tell you from personal experience
that Miranda rarely affects the outcome of a case. Police give the warnings
in almost every case now, as they should. Despite the warnings, most
suspects talk anyway. Most do one of two things. They either confess, or
they tell the stupidest lie on Earth, which, when heard by the jury, is as
good as a confession.

I agree that videotaping interviews is a good idea, but I doubt the police
will go for it. It's amazing how infrequently they even bother with a tape

There are many cases where the police claim that a suspect said one thing
but the defendant claims to have said something else. Many of these cases
go to trial because the defendant claims the cops are lying. Having a
videotape would avoid a lot of trials. If the police are lying, the DA will
dismiss. If the defendant is lying, a look at
the tape will convince him to take a deal.

I question the validity of the study she relies on. A more likely
explanation for the drop in clearance rates is the amount of police time
wasted on victimless crimes like drug use and sales. If the police would
concentrate on catching real criminals like robbers,
rapists and murderers, they would have a higher success rate.

Jonathan Richter Libertarian candidate 19th Congressional District

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Checked-by: Joel W. Johnson