Dancing the Two-Step Abroad: Finding a Place for Clean Team Evidence in Article III Courts
Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems
November 29, 2013
Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Forthcoming
Federal agents often employ a two-step interview process for suspects in extraterritorial terrorism investigations. Agents conduct the first interview without Miranda warnings for the purpose of intelligence-gathering. Separate “clean team” agents then give the suspect Miranda warnings prior to the second stage of the interview, which they conduct for law enforcement purposes. Federal courts have yet to decide whether the government can use statements elicited during the second stage of a two-step interview abroad when prosecuting a terrorism suspect, or whether all such evidence should be suppressed. This Note discusses the boundaries of the two-step interrogation practice as an evidentiary issue in Article III courts, using the investigation and prosecution of Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed as a case study around which to frame the analysis. The Note first explores the contours of current “clean team” practices in extraterritorial investigations. It then analyzes the current state of U.S. law regarding the admissibility of evidence gleaned from two-step interrogations. Finally, this Note situates the two-step practice within existing doctrine and argues courts should admit step-two evidence because the two-step practice in extraterritorial terrorism investigations occupies a particular niche within current Miranda jurisprudence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: terrorism investigations, terrorism prosecutions, terrorism, interrogation techniques, two-step interrogations, clean teams, Miranda, criminal law, criminal procedure
Date posted: December 1, 2013 ; Last revised: July 22, 2014
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