Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You have a right to remain silent, but only if you speak

Terrible split SCOTUS decision in Salinas v. Texas. From now on, simply remaining silent in the face of police questioning is not enough to invoke one's Fifth Amendment rights. Under this ruling, one has to specifically say that's what you're doing. So you still have a right to remain silent, theoretically, but only if you speak. See the opinion recap from SCOTUSBlog and past Grits coverage.


Anonymous said...

Most outrageous ruling from the SCOTUS ever. Will have implications that won't be fully seen for years. No doubt police officers are already scheming on how to use this to the detriment of justice, not to mention the district attorneys, who will be offering classes on how best to interrogate so that Miranda will finally be null. The only positive is that it will now be easier than ever to convince citizens never to speak to law enforcement..

Anonymous said...

"Most outrageous ruling from the SCOTUS ever"!?

Try a little harder.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Agreed, 8:47. Possibly their most outrageous ruling this month, but of course the month's not over. ;)

7:52, you're right that we'll surely see changes in interrogation training to try to take advantage of this new loophole. This may get ugly.

Anonymous said...

From now on, simply remaining silent in the face of police questioning is not enough to invoke one's Fifth Amendment rights.

It never was, really. As the decision says, the 5th has not been a self-executing right for some time, so if you don't ask for it you don't get it.

It's not their worst decision (just ask Dred Scot), but it's up there.

doran said...

Grits, was I censored?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

No, Doran, but you're the second person in a week who's asked that. I don't know what's happening. It's been a couple of months since I deleted anything but comment spam, and the one I'm thinking of was explicitly libelous toward a non-public figure. Feel free to re-post.

An Attorney said...

Is NSA stealing some of the comments? Or maybe the DA association?

Anonymous said...

If the Founding Fathers were alive they would say that these Republican Supreme Court Justices were traitors and have them promptly put to death.

rodsmith said...

so the translation is .

Now when under question by law enforcment.

first slap the shit out of the cop!

then in a loud clear voice. say!

I exercise my right to SILENCE. kiss off!

GOD what a buch of govt fucktards!

Anonymous said...

Except for the fact that the bill of rights didn't even begin to apply to states and local governments until the 1920's--the founding fathers would laugh at your outrage. The Supreme Court made up Miranda "Rights" out of whole cloth so that can take them away at will as well.

Anonymous said...

Grits, now that the Rules have changed, do you believe that the Miranda warnning should be revamped and unformed down to one warnning for all states (& recorded and become part of the case file) to insure it was read properly along with any replies or lack of?

As it is now, it's the suspect's word against the cops everytime. Yes, the old farts have managed (again) to make the entire country a laughing stock and we just let them get away with it again.

Anonymous said...

This decision, in plain English:

The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment gives an individual suspected of crime a right not to be forced, by police or other government officials, into giving up evidence that would show he or she was guilty of a crime. The Court had ruled previously, in the famous case of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966, that an individual who was being held by police and could not leave the police station had to be told of a right to remain silent.

But the new case before the Court on Monday did not involve an individual who was being held against his will by police officers. The individual, Genevevo Salinas of Houston, had voluntarily gone to a police station when officers asked him to accompany them to talk about the murder of two men. So, in that situation, he was not entitled to be told about his right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment.

He answered most of the officers’ questions, but simply remained silent when they asked him whether shotgun casings found at the scene of the murders would match his gun. He shifted his feet, and others acted nervously, but did not say anything. Later, at his trial, prosecutors told jurors that his silence in the face of that question showed that he was guilty, that he knew that the shotgun used to kill the victims was his.

His lawyer wanted the Supreme Court to rule that the simple fact of silence during police questioning, when an individual was not under arrest, could not be used against that person at a criminal trial. The Court did not rule on that issue. Instead, it said that Salinas had no complaint about the use of his silence, because in order to claim the Fifth Amendment right to say nothing that might be damaging, he had to explicitly say something that showed his silence was a claim of that right. Since he did not do so, the Amendment did not protect him, according to the decision.

Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!

Anonymous said...

Article in Slate on this issue: