A Critique of United States v. Bin Laden in Light of Chavez v. Martinez and the International War on Terror


In 2001’s United States v. Bin Laden, the District Court for the Southern District of New York held that the Miranda warning/waiver system applied to overseas interrogations of non-resident aliens. This Note criticizes the court’s novel holding for being legally unsound and for exacerbating existing tensions between the law enforcement community and the courts solely in order to extract very tenuous civil liberties gains. Looking to the international reach of U.S. constitutional law, to the new realities of the international war on terror, and to comparisons with the laws of other nations, this Note contends that the Bin Laden court was short-sighted when it extended Miranda warnings to the situation that it confronted. The Note concludes by expressing the hope that the legacy of the Warren Court may be one of reasoned judicial oversight, which will encourage law enforcement to put faith in the courts and to endeavor to protect the civil liberties of criminal suspects.