Nowak Case Presents Classic Elements of 5th Amendment Violations

The judge in the Nowak case detailed a series of violations by the police, who seemed intent on getting incriminating statements from her despite her lack of sleep, absence of a lawyer, and failure to clearly consent to a waiver. Judge Lubet in the case noted “There was a concerted effort to minimize and downplay the significance of the Miranda rights by referring to these constitutional rights as ‘formalities’ ” during the interview.

It is increasingly rare to see such major Miranda driven decisions or a court willing to protect the underlying principles of that decision. As shown with Sen. Craig, there continue to be the use of threats and mmisrepresentations (both allowed by the Supreme Court) to secure confessions. The invocation of rights under Miranda are the critical protection at this early encounter with police. Miranda has been gradually weakened over the years do to exceptions created by the Court. For a column on that evolution, click here

For the latest of the Nowak case, click here