Tuesday, June 01, 2010

SCOTUS impaired > The right to remain silent now requires you to speak.

A suspect was given his Miranda rights to remain silent (or it could be used against him in a court of law). He remained mostly silent despite 3 hours of continued questioning by the police. Finally one his questioners asked Q: Do you believe in God? 'Yes" he answered. Q: Do you think God is forgiving of people's sins? (paraphrase) "Yes" he answered. Q: Do you think God would forgive you for what you did to [the victim]? "Yes" he replied.

These answers were used against him in court which led to his conviction. When challenged by their admissibility the Supreme Court found that the accused hadn't really said he wanted to remain silent so whatever he said was admissible.

“The right to remain silent” now requires you to speak: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Tuesday that criminal suspects must explicitly tell police interrogators that they wish to remain silent in order to receive Miranda protections. Previously, that right had been a given. The decision split the court along its familiar conservative-liberal fault line. Writing the dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the decision “turns Miranda upside down . . . suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so.” You can read more about it here