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Washington (AP)�The justices ruled last week that a law meant to punish pornographers who sell dirty pictures to Web-surfing minors is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech. The high court divided, 5-4, over a law passed in 1998, signed by then-President Clinton and now backed by the Bush administration. The majority said the 3d Circuit was correct to block the law from taking effect because it likely violates the First Amendment. The justices sent the case back to a lower court for trial so as to give the government a chance to prove the law does not go too far. The majority, led by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, said there may have been important technological advances in the five years since a federal judge blocked the law. Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with Kennedy. Justice Stephen G. Breyer filed a dissent, in which Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor joined. Justice Antonin Scalia filed a separate dissent. Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, No. 03-218. MIRANDA WARNINGS Washington (AP)�The justices warned police against using a strategy intended to extract confessions from criminal suspects before telling them of their right to remain silent. The court, on a 5-4 vote, said that intentionally questioning a suspect twice�the first time without reading the Miranda warning�is usually improper. But the court left open the possibility that some confessions obtained after double interviews would be acceptable, provided police could prove that the interrogation wasn’t intended to undermine the Miranda warning. The justices upheld the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling that the two-step interrogation process used in the case of murder suspect Patrice Seibert was improper. Souter wrote the court’s opinion, in which Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy joined. O’Connor filed a dissent, in which Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas joined. The court also sided, 5-4, with police in a separate Miranda case, throwing out a decision in the case of a Colorado man who had told an officer not to bother reading him the Miranda warnings. Thomas wrote the opinion, in which Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy and O’Connor joined. Souter filed a dissent, in which Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer joined. The cases are United States v. Patane, No. 02-1183, and Missouri v. Seibert, No. 02-1371.

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