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911 Callers Deserve "Miranda Rights"

Fifth Amendment Right Against Self-Incrimination
Right to have a lawyer present during questioning
Right to remain silent because --

"Everything you say will be used against you."

Half the convictions in self-defense cases come from the 911 recordings.
-- Mitch Vilos, author, Self Defense Laws of All 50 States


“The 911 Limited-Immunity Law”


Legislative Statement of Intent

Whereas the state legislature has enacted law defining certain circumstances in which a person may lawfully threaten to use or actually use physical or deadly physical force;

Whereas the state legislature recognizes a value for justifiable instances of threatened use or actual use of physical or deadly physical force to be promptly reported to the appropriate authorities to assist in the prompt dispatching of emergency medical and law-enforcement personnel;

Whereas the state legislature recognizes that individuals who threaten or actually use physical or deadly physical force have a deeply rooted constitutional right to remain silent, to have an attorney present prior to and during any questioning, or during the course of a potentially criminal investigation, and a sacrosanct Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination;

Whereas the state legislature desires to strike a balance between the potentially competing needs for prompt reporting of such incidents and an individual’s constitutional right to remain silent, have an attorney present prior to and during questioning, and be protected from self-incrimination, all of which could delay prompt reporting;

Therefore, the state legislature hereby enacts the following statute to provide limited immunity to individuals who are directly or indirectly involved in an incident involving the threatened or actual use of physical or deadly physical force if they promptly make a good-faith effort to report such instances by calling 911 or other appropriate authorities.

The net effect of the proposed law is:

1. Encourage people to contact 911 for assistance by protecting their 5th Amendment and Miranda rights during the call.
People currently lack self-incrimination protections.

2. Require the state to gain convictions in claimed but flawed self-defense cases by relying on everything except self-incrimination from 911 voice recordings.
The state frequently and abusively relies on unsound self-incrimination.

DRAFT TEXT OF STATUTE

“LIMITED IMMUNITY FOR CERTAIN STATEMENTS MADE DURING 911 EMERGENCY CALLS.”

A. Any individual who is directly or indirectly involved in an incident involving the threatened or actual use of justifiable physical or deadly physical force shall be granted limited immunity for all statements made in a good-faith effort to promptly report such incident to appropriate authorities in an effort to obtain emergency medical or law-enforcement assistance.


B. The term “limited immunity” shall mean that no statement(s) made by an individual in such a good-faith effort may be used against that individual in any civil or criminal proceeding.

C. Notwithstanding subsection B, any statement(s) made by an individual in such a good-faith effort may be used in a legal proceeding with the consent of the individual after consultation with competent legal counsel.

D. This grant of limited immunity shall not apply to the prosecution of false reporting, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence or perjury.

E. The contents of a report made to promptly report an incident involving the threatened or actual use of justifiable physical or deadly physical force, in a good-faith effort to obtain emergency medical or law-enforcement assistance, shall not be released to the public or the news media prior to its use in a trial involving any such incident. Any such prior release shall be subject to prosecution as obstruction of justice.

F. Anyone who violates or attempts to violate the immunity provided in subsection A of this section, or acts in violation of subsection E of this section, shall be subject to prosecution as a class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense, a class 6 felony for a second offense, and a class 5 felony for any additional offenses.

1. The penalties under subsection F apply whether or not additional offenses are committed against the same or different persons, or related to the same or different cases, and regardless of time that may pass between subsequent offenses.

###

NOTE: Adding “Teeth” To The Law

A proposed “teeth” clause, paragraph F is included, which many laws need. This helps control employees, authorities, politicians, bureaucrats and other “officials” who frequently and with impunity violate laws and emerge unscathed.

Paragraph F is modeled after the highly successful Posse Comitatus federal law (18 USC §1385). Instead of saying, as so many laws do (paraphrasing §1385 here), “It’s illegal to use the military to enforce civilian law,” which would be toothless against an offender, the statute instead says, again paraphrasing, “Anyone who uses the military to enforce civilian law shall go to prison for a long time and pay a very stiff fine.”

That difference, and people’s unwillingness to suffer those enumerated consequences, is why America is not a banana republic. The change is made by putting the law in “active voice,” not in “passive voice,” making a person responsible. A “teeth clause” belongs in this new statute to make it effective. It belongs in any statute where requirements are placed on government actors. Failure to include teeth clauses is often proof the politicians have no intention of enforcing the laws they enact.

For Talking Points and background: http://www.gunlaws.com/911-Limited-Immunity.htm

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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