It shows how police can be thugs operating in defiance of righteous practices. Not all members of criminal gangs will be bad, and the same logic can be applied to police forces too.
AT A COURT HEARING on Wednesday, a federal judge agreed to delay accused leaker Reality Winner’s trial until March. The delay will allow Winner’s lawyers and expert witnesses to acquire the required security clearances needed to access classified information the government may use against her in court.
A potentially critical pretrial battle, however, is brewing right now, according to court documents filed Tuesday. Winner — the 25-year-old Air Force veteran and ex-National Security Administration contractor indicted under the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking a top-secret document — has accused the FBI of violating her Miranda rights. Winner’s lawyers are arguing that any alleged confession should be barred from a jury trial.
“Because Winner was not read her Miranda rights prior to law enforcement questioning,” Winner’s lawyers said in a memo supporting their motion, “any statements elicited by law enforcement from Winner during the encounter must be suppressed, as should any evidence obtained as a result of those statements.”
In a four-page written declaration, Winner told the court that 10 armed, male FBI agents came to her house with a warrant to search the premises and her person. While there, she said, agents pressured her into consenting to an interview, giving her the impression she did not have a choice to leave. “During the entirety of my encounter with law enforcement on June 3, 2017, prior to being arrested, I was never provided any Miranda warnings,” Winner wrote.
In other words, the FBI didn’t inform her that she had the right to refuse to answer questions or cut the interview short, or that anything she said could be used against her in court, or that she had the right to an attorney — all constitutional requirements, thanks to the famed Miranda v. Arizona Supreme Court case.
Winner wrote that when agents started searching her house, two of them “told me that they wanted to speak with me and asked if I would rather speak with them in my house or at the FBI office.” They then directed her to a cramped, unfurnished backroom in her home, despite her initial protests that she did not want to talk to them in the “creepy” and “weird” 7-by-9-foot room. Once there, she sat with her back to the wall, with the door almost all the way shut, as agents stood in front of her “physically blocking the exit to the room.”
According to Winner, while agents told her the interview was “voluntary,” they did not inform her that she could leave and refused to give her a direct answer when she asked if she was being arrested. After the interview concluded, the agents directed her to stand in her yard. Then, two female FBI agents showed up and arrested her.
Miranda rights are not limited to interrogations that occur after a suspect is arrested. Suspects are supposed to be apprised of their rights during any “custodial interrogation,” essentially any place where a suspect feels that they are not allowed to leave.