The ACLU of Maine will present oral arguments to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday arguing that the state constitution requires a more strict adherence to Miranda rights than required by current federal law.
In September, the Supreme Court invited friends of the court briefs in the appeal of State of Maine v. Derric McLain.
In the appeal, McLain argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress statements he made while in police custody.
“The McLain case is about how clear and unambiguous criminal defendants must be when they assert their Miranda rights, which include the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent,” said ACLU of Maine Legal Director Carol Garvan, who will present oral arguments in the case. “When Miranda was decided in the 1960s, the US Supreme Court said that defendants could assert their rights to remain silent and to counsel ‘in any manner.’ Since then, federal courts have rolled back Miranda protections. Maine’s constitution requires a greater safeguarding of individual rights than current rulings require at the federal level.”
The ACLU of Maine argues that Maine has an obligation to stop interrogations, except to ask clarifying questions about whether the defendant is asserting their rights, even if the defendant is unclear or ambiguous in requesting an attorney or opting to remain silent.
The case will be heard at the Cumberland County Courthouse at 2:20 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6.