Cops Can Question Suspects Sans Lawyer: High Court
Conservatives overturn 1986 case in 5-4 decision
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2009 11:35 AM CDT
John Paul Stevens wrote the 1986 opinion and read his dissent aloud from the bench this time.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court today overturned a longstanding ruling that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects. The court’s conservatives, in a 5-4 victory, overturned a 1986 ruling that applied even to defendants who agree to talk to the authorities without their lawyers.

Justice Antonin Scalia said that ruling "was poorly reasoned, has created no significant reliance interests and is ultimately unworkable." Scalia said their decision will have a "minimal" effects on criminal defendants. "Because of the protections created by this court in Miranda and related cases, there is little if any chance that a defendant will be badgered into waiving his right to have counsel present during interrogation," Scalia said.