North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

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The Capture and Interrogation of § 1651 Pirates: The Consequences of United States v. Dire

March 28, 2013

91 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum 119 (2013)


The argument this Recent Development makes is twofold. It first argues that Dire establishes a strong, clear, and correct precedent for future courts to follow when interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1651, a statute that was in great need of clarification due to the lack of relevant case law. The Fourth Circuit's interpretation of § 1651 in Dire protects the individual right to due process and also preserves Congress's intent that the statute mirror the international community's ever-changing definition of piracy. Second, this Recent Development argues that the court forfeited an opportunity to distinguish Direfrom other "totality of the circumstances" cases and failed to extend Fifth Amendment rights to foreign detainees. The Fourth Circuit's discussion in Dire of the "totality of the circumstances" standard, although arguably correct, lacks the resolute approach taken in the § 1651 analysis. Especially when considering the unique facts of Dire, the court refused an ideal opportunity to explain the "totality of the circumstances" standard in a way that adequately extends a constitutional right to foreign detainees. By affirming the district court's holding in Hasan III that a detainee need only understand his Miranda rights in a "linguistic" manner," the Fourth Circuit opened the door for future courts to gloss over the "totality of the circumstances" criteria. Overall, in a bizarre juxtaposition of approaches, Dire demonstrates a court's ability to sufficiently explain and improve upon centuries-old law, while also impeding the advancement of a constitutional right.



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