Letters: More on Movie Types
Regarding “The 6 Types of Lawyer Movies,” August, you seem to have forgotten that Jan Schlichtmann is not a movie character. To characterize him as “perhaps legal cinema’s most obtuse attorney” taints his performance as a lawyer in the W.R. Grace case with ridicule. It’s one thing to criticize a fictional movie character using such a shallow and flippant term; to classify a real person in such a manner is unfair and unwarranted.
No. 7: the immoral schlep, Ned Racine (William Hurt) in Body Heat.
David A. Gottardo
COPS KNOW WHAT LAWYERS DON’T
My only experience with Miranda warnings (“Think You Have the Right?” August) supports professor Stephen Schulhofer’s proposition “that Miranda has not handcuffed law enforcement.” Specifically, circa 2001, I was a victim of a hit-and-run driver.
Thanks to an eyewitness, the police tracked down the vehicle. When the police questioned the suspect (the nephew of the car’s owner), he refused to speak (his license had been previously revoked and he had taken the car without permission). The police then arrested the accused and only after he was Mirandized did the culprit “sing like a bird,” including admitting his guilt.
This counterintuitive revelation shocked me (especially since I was an attorney with 17 years’ experience at the time). My point is that the police know what we lawyers don’t: Not every accused acts logically. In my case, the suspect remained silent before he was read his Miranda rights; it was only afterward that the criminal thought he should explain why he left the scene of the accident.
To me, the fact that law enforcement knows Miranda can be used as a tool rather than the perceived procedural impediment (which is what William Rehnquist assumed when he said in 1969 that the warning would have the effect of preventing a defendant from making any statement at all) is yet another irony.
James R. Brewster