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If at first no info, try again in two weeks

From NBC's Pete Williams
By a vote of 7-2, the U.S. Supreme Court said today that when a suspect refuses to answer police questions by invoking the Miranda right to counsel, police can try again to ask questions if there's a break in custody for interrogation of at least two weeks. Police would then have to notify the suspect again of the right to remain silent.

The case involved a Maryland prison inmate suspected of a sex crime. After refusing to discuss the case and asking for a lawyer, police closed the file. When new evidence became available 2 1/2 years later, they went back to the inmate, gave the Miranda warning, and asked about the case again. The second time, the inmate confessed but later tried to get the confession thrown out, arguing that because he had refused to discuss the case the first time, the second attempt to question him amounted to coercion.

The court said as long as there's at least a two-week break in custody for interrogation, there's no coercion.

The court was unanimous in upholding the conviction in this case, because so much time had passed between the two interrogations, but voted 7-2 on imposing a two-week rule.