The Supreme Court justices will be reviewing a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 5th Circuit. A U.S. airman was court-martialed for allegedly having sex with an underage girl. He was confined for three months and faced a bad conduct discharge. Following that, he moved around Texas for about nine years. In 2008, he was arrested because he had not informed officials of his whereabouts for the sex offender registry.
Earlier in the week, we talked about a suspect who was arrested on a gun charge and an appeals court's decision to allow his confession into evidence. The controversy surrounding the case, however, is that the man's confession to the violent criminal charges came after a first confession in which the suspect was not read his Miranda rights. Until this appeals court decision, confessions following a "deliberate, two-step interrogation" would be thrown out under a United States Supreme Court Case.
A federal appeals court has recently handed down a decision that many may feel undermine the basic rights that anyone suspected of a crime has -- the rights to remain silent and to an attorney. Almost everyone in Bethesda has heard the Miranda warnings on television before. In fact, many people can recite them by heart after having heard them so many times. Even though everyone may know them, the stress of being accused of a crime and under arrest may make many people forget that they don't have to talk to police and can wait until they have an attorney present to say anything.
It is undeniable that anyone arrested on suspicion of a crime has the right to be treated fairly and humanely while in police custody. The United States Supreme Court, however, has recently limited just what those rights are when it recently decided that jails and police can strip-search anyone arrested on any charge before sending the suspect to jail. While some law enforcement officials may have reason to suspect someone accused of a violent crime of having contraband, the Supreme Court has held that police no longer need to have any suspicions whatsoever that a person has a weapon or drugs before strip-searching him or her.
Anyone who has been arrested before can tell you that it's a terrifying experience. To be put in jail while police figure out what to do with you is not only nerve-wracking, but humiliating. It is customary in many jails for newly admitted suspects to be strip-searched in order to look for weapons or contraband. While it may be reasonable to think that some suspects could be violent or have a weapon, someone arrested after a traffic violation or the failure to pay a fine should not be subjected to such an invasive and embarrassing procedure.