Taking the Miranda

June 29, 1994|By Art Buchwald

BECAUSE of the tremendous media coverage of notorious crimes these days, serious thought is being given to re-wording the Miranda ruling that police must recite to suspects.

This is a draft now being circulated among law enforcement agencies:

"You have the right to remain silent or, if you choose, you can go on the 'Larry King Show,' 'Today', 'Good Morning America,' or 'Hard Copy.'

"You have the right to an attorney, as well as outside legal experts such as Alan Dershowitz or F. Lee Bailey, who will explain on 'Nightline' what your attorney's defense strategy should have been.

"The District Attorney reserves the right to try you in public on TV before you are brought to justice. Mediawise you will be presumed guilty until proved innocent.

"In addition to a lawyer, you have the right to a theatrical agent to make deals for film and television and you will receive 50 percent of the profits from all books and videotapes based on your crime.

"Depending on the notoriety of the crime, you will be judged by all the networks, newspaper editorial writers and Pat Buchanan on 'Crossfire.' If found guilty you will be featured in a four-part miniseries during sweeps month.

"This updated version of Miranda is necessary in today's world of instant communications where the rights of the media now have priority over those of the individual.

"You are on notice that district attorneys cannot prepare their cases if they don't have access to 100 microphones. Defense lawyers must plead for their defendants in front of the cameras or they will never get a fair trial.

"This Miranda warning will assure those arrested that their media rights will be protected.

"Remember, if accused of a crime, you are entitled to every sound bite you can get. The Constitution is broad enough to protect every citizen, even those who appear on 'Geraldo.' "

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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