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Cath. U.L. Rev.


This article argues that in creating the public safety exception to the Miranda requirements, the Supreme Court implicitly analogized to the criminal law doctrines of self-defense and defense of others. Thus, examining the justifications of self-defense and defense of others can be useful in determining the contours of the public safety exception and the related "rescue doctrine" exception. In particular, the battered woman syndrome -- which is recognized in a majority of the states and has been successfully invoked by defendants in some self-defense cases -- could provide a conceptual analogue for arguments about whether law enforcement officers were faced with an "immediate necessity" to obtain information that was needed to protect the public safety. Such an analysis could be especially relevant to the debate about withholding Miranda warnings during initial questioning of terrorism suspects.