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Supreme Court Decides Your Silence May Be Used Against You

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the should-have-just-left dept.

The Courts 662

crackspackle writes "The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Texas earlier today in a murder trial where the defendant, prior to be taken into custody, had been questioned by the police and chose to remain silent on key questions. This fact was bought up at trial and used to convict him. Most of us have seen at least enough cop shows to know police must read a suspect their Miranda rights when placing them in custody. The issue was a bit murkier here in that the defendant had not yet been detained and while we all probably thought the freedom from self-incrimination was an implicit right as stated in the Constitution, apparently SCOTUS now thinks you have to claim that right or at least be properly mirandized first." It appears that if you are "free to leave at any time" you lose a few rights. Fancy trick, up there with getting kids to write apology letters.

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662 comments

wtf (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | about a year ago | (#44034601)

so if the police dont read you your rights, you lose them? land of the...fuck it

Re:wtf (5, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#44034625)

You always have your rights... it's just a question of if and how you exercise them.

The difference here is the guy who went to talk to the police on his own (ie voluntarily) vs being arrested (ie unwillingly).

The court ruled that in the prior, you have to make an affirmative statement as to you exercising your 5a rights.

Re:wtf (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | about a year ago | (#44034803)

You always have your rights... it's just a question of if and how you exercise them.

The difference here is the guy who went to talk to the police on his own (ie voluntarily) vs being arrested (ie unwillingly).

The court ruled that in the prior, you have to make an affirmative statement as to you exercising your 5a rights.

Still bullshit to me. The fact that not explicitly stating that one is exercising one's rights implicitly means forgoing them? Does this mean that if I don't affirm my right to free speech or a fair trial that I cannot speak freely or will not get a fair trial? From the article:

Prosecutors argued such silence does not have constitutional protection because of the other questions Salinas had answered and since he was not under arrest and was not compelled to speak. A plurality of the Supreme Court affirmed for Texas Monday, noting that Salinas never expressly invoked the privilege when the officer asked about the shells. It has long been settled that the privilege 'generally is not self-executing' and that a witness who desires its protection 'must claim it...

So rights are a privilege now to be dictated by loose wording and interpretation...fuck. that. shit....oh wait...should be old news in light of all the other bullshittery USDOJ spews.

Re:wtf (5, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44034907)

Still bullshit to me. The fact that not explicitly stating that one is exercising one's rights implicitly means forgoing them? Does this mean that if I don't affirm my right to free speech or a fair trial that I cannot speak freely or will not get a fair trial?

Dammit, man. What if they hadn't thought of those already? Stop giving them ideas!

Re:wtf (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034933)

Still bullshit to me. The fact that not explicitly stating that one is exercising one's rights implicitly means forgoing them? Does this mean that if I don't affirm my right to free speech or a fair trial that I cannot speak freely or will not get a fair trial?

You didn't ask for your Fourth Amendment rights so you've also relinquished your rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, not to mention the requirement of a warrant or probable cause. Huzzah!

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#44034997)

You didn't ask for your Fourth Amendment rights so you've also relinquished your rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, not to mention the requirement of a warrant or probable cause. Huzzah!

Better analogy. The police knock at your door asking to take a look around, you allow them in and in the conduct of their permitted search, they find illegal drug paraphernalia on a table. They ask you "Is this yours?" and in response you ask them to leave.

The 4th amendment doesn't apply (as the 5th in this case doesn't)... because said right was waved through the actions of the person involved.

By allowing the police to search your home, you waved 4th amendment rights to the search (such as when/where it can end)... just as the person involved in this case did by opening his mouth in the first place.

The difference... is that the person in this case had the ability to say "I'm done answering questions and choose to remain silent per my 5th amendment rights"... while in the case of your home being searched, criminal activity has been found that can be pinned on you so it's much harder to go back.

Re:wtf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44035039)

Prosecutors argued such silence does not have constitutional protection because of the other questions Salinas had answered and since he was not under arrest and was not compelled to speak.
          A plurality of the Supreme Court affirmed for Texas Monday, noting that Salinas never expressly invoked the privilege when the officer asked about the shells. It has long been settled that the privilege 'generally is not self-executing' and that a witness who desires its protection 'must claim it...

So rights are a privilege now to be dictated by loose wording and interpretation...fuck. that. shit....oh wait...should be old news in light of all the other bullshittery USDOJ spews.

I have a bullet with SCOTUS' name on it. Oh wait, SCOTUS can change the Constitution of the United States of Amerika now? Lucifer has arrived and his name is Barak Hussein Obama. Death to the infidels in government.

Re:wtf (5, Interesting)

Burz (138833) | about a year ago | (#44035075)

So rights are a privilege now to be dictated by loose wording and interpretation...fuck. that. shit....oh wait...should be old news in light of all the other bullshittery USDOJ spews.

Not only that... Rights are a privilege to be handed out by the police.

Texas justice comes to the rest of the USA.

Re:wtf (5, Insightful)

dwillden (521345) | about a year ago | (#44035107)

It would be BS had he chosen to simply stop answering questions period, but by selectively answering then not and then answering other questions he made a statement as clear as if he'd blurted out his guilt. If you claim the right to remain silent, do so, shut up and stop talking period. If you speak again, your selective silence is a clear statement. If anything it looks to me like this guy was trying to taint the entire interview. I think there is really no other way to rule on this. He was willingly answering questions, he could have claimed the right without speaking by simply shutting up, but as seen again those who break the law often lack the ability to remain silent, even though they have the right.

Had he shut up at the uncomfortable question and remained silent his silence would not be admissible, but by then continuing to answer questions has has by his actions if not statement waived his rights.

Re:wtf (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about a year ago | (#44034959)

4 words to remember when talking to the police, "I Want My Lawyer".

Re:wtf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034995)

Go fuck yourself you frightwing asshole.

Re:wtf (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034687)

You have the right to remain silent, however choosing to use that right only on one specific question, and looking all fucked up whilst doing so, does not have to be magically forgotten.

Re:wtf (0)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44034709)

I moved out of the US. People constantly ask me why. My response has been "have you seen the news in the past 10 years?" Everyone knowingly nods after that, both American and otherwise. 1 more year until dual-citizenship. Maybe I'll try for a 3rd when I retire. US, OZ, and EU are the best 3 to have, and they all allow multi-citizenship (so long as you get the right EU one).

Re:wtf (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about a year ago | (#44035051)

Out of curiosity, where did you go? Lord knows I hate the crap that the government here is doing, but it seems like other countries are also keen to trample freedom, just like we are. I'd love to be wrong though.

Re:wtf (4, Interesting)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#44035109)

I think pretty much every country is moving towards "Security" over all else, it's a question of how fast.

Re:wtf (5, Informative)

cfsops (2922481) | about a year ago | (#44034717)

so if the police dont read you your rights, you lose them?

No. The article explains that the person in question had NOT been arrested, had been freely answering other questions, but refused to answer one that concerned shotgun shells found at the murder scene.

The ACLU [aclu.org] has a "bust card" [aclu.org] that helps clarify the matter. The person in the article should have kept his fucking mouth shut, period.

Re:wtf (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | about a year ago | (#44034747)

so if the police dont read you your rights, you lose them?

No. The article explains that the person in question had NOT been arrested, had been freely answering other questions, but refused to answer one that concerned shotgun shells found at the murder scene.

The ACLU [aclu.org] has a "bust card" [aclu.org] that helps clarify the matter. The person in the article should have kept his fucking mouth shut, period.

Still befuddles me. So you're telling me if you provide any information whatsoever, you're legally obliged to answer every single question, even if it leads to self incrimination? IANAL so does answering some questions automagically count as forgoing your right to silence blanche carte?

Re:wtf (1)

silviuc (676999) | about a year ago | (#44034767)

You can always answer "I do not remember".

Re:wtf (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44034905)

You can always answer "I do not remember".

I don't really think that would help.

"Will the shotgun shells found at the scene of the murder match the shotgun found at your house?"

"I don't remember."

You'd think that if he didn't shoot someone with his shotgun, he would probably be aware of that fact.

Re:wtf (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#44034961)

No. First, if you're lying (which you probably are) they can now charge you with that, too. Also, if it seems odd that you don't remember, the prosecutor can use that, as well.

Re:wtf (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year ago | (#44034999)

Brilliant. If they can prove that you do in fact remember, then they caught you lying, which is a crime, and you are now fucked on two counts.

Re:wtf (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44035029)

"Brilliant. If they can prove that you do in fact remember, then they caught you lying, which is a crime, and you are now fucked on two counts."

Correct. See those videos I linked to below. They cover that point in detail.

Re:wtf (2)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#44034771)

Still befuddles me. So you're telling me if you provide any information whatsoever, you're legally obliged to answer every single question, even if it leads to self incrimination? IANAL so does answering some questions automagically count as forgoing your right to silence blanche carte?

Correct... to a point.

Case in point... Lois Lerner invoked the 5th during her appearance before a congressional panel not long ago... while doing so she also answered some questions and proclaimed her innocence... which effectively waved her right to plead the 5th related to those things she spoke about.

If Issa had any real courage, he would have dragged her back the next week, compelled her to answer and if she refused... held her in contempt.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44035007)

Except it wasn't a court proceeding and she wasn't testifying in a trial

Re:wtf (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44034879)

So you're telling me if you provide any information whatsoever, you're legally obliged to answer every single question, even if it leads to self incrimination?

No, you're not obliged to do shit. But if you choose not to answer a particular question, they can use that against you. If you get arrested then you have additional rights, but if you're not arrested and just spilling your guts to the police and then clam up on one particular question, they can bring that fact up in court. The moral of the story, obviously, is to not answer any questions.

Re:wtf (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44034989)

Nope, the moral of the story is to NEVER go to the police in the first place. WTF? Who, in his mind, would willingly go into the wolf's den! To confess innocence? Don't make me laugh.

Re:wtf (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44034833)

"... the person in question had NOT been arrested, had been freely answering other questions, but refused to answer one that concerned shotgun shells found at the murder scene."

Correct. It was what he did say, combined with what he did not say, that led to his conviction.

That is why, even if you are "innocent" you should NEVER speak to the police about anything that involves you at all.

HIGHLY recommended for everybody to watch, which explains why very clearly and in a no-nonsense way, are THIS VIDEO (part 1) [youtube.com] and THIS VIDEO (part 2) [youtube.com] . About 49 minutes total. Very worth it.

These are not some kind of government-conspiracy nuts but a defense attorney and a police detective.

Re:wtf (1)

LandGator (625199) | about a year ago | (#44034885)

Absolutely correct. Name, Rank and serial number from now on. You ARE required to identify yourself, dont'cha know, in the Land of the Formerly Free.

Re:wtf (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44035005)

"You ARE required to identify yourself, dont'cha know, in the Land of the Formerly Free."

Not necessarily. It depends on the circumstances.

In my state, the police cannot stop you (either in an automobile or on foot) for just any reason and ask who you are, what your business there is, etc. They have to have "reasonable suspicion" before they can do even that.

I should amend that: they can ask, but you are not obligated to answer.

And you are not required to produce ID (verbal or otherwise) unless they have enough probable cause to detain you. Which, in this case, does include legitimate traffic stops, since they have to have probable cause to do that anyway. No random checkpoints here. And in fact I won't willingly live in a state that does have them.

Re:wtf (4, Insightful)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#44035117)

"Well the fact that he refused to identify himself made me suspicious..."

Re:wtf (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44034779)

Hey, c'mon... We walked right into this as soon as the peace treaty with Great Britain was signed. Everybody jus' noddin' their heads, sayin', "I'm cool..."

... <chirp, chirp> (-1, Offtopic)

gringer (252588) | about a year ago | (#44034605)

... <chirp, chirp>

Spirit of the law (1)

lolococo (574827) | about a year ago | (#44034615)

What happened to the spirit of the law vs. letter of the law? Isn't it why there are judges?

Re:Spirit of the law (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year ago | (#44034685)

"Spirit of the law" is more of a liberal thing. Our current court leans a bit to the conservative side, and they tend to be more concerned with "letter of the law". Of course, both sides would probably dispute such simplistic characterizations, but that's pretty much how it works out in practice.

Re:Spirit of the law (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034837)

Except for the Second Amendment, where the liberals are trying all sorts of interpretations to avoid the spirit it was written in.

--
Posting AC because I just don't want the grief of wounded liberal egos.

Re:Spirit of the law (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#44034861)

Butbutbut the spirit of the 2A was CLEARLY for hunting!

Re:Spirit of the law (1)

LandGator (625199) | about a year ago | (#44034943)

Well, there were cannons, bombs, submarines, warships, Greek Fire, and incendiaries in the Revolution, all of which were 'arms'. Nowadays anything bigger than a .50 cal requires registration of the device AND a hefty tax. Seems like a clear subversion of the intent of 'Because we need you to be competent at potting Redcoats, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'

Re:Spirit of the law (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44035067)

""Spirit of the law" is more of a liberal thing. Our current court leans a bit to the conservative side, and they tend to be more concerned with "letter of the law". Of course, both sides would probably dispute such simplistic characterizations, but that's pretty much how it works out in practice."

But "the letter of the law" has no real legal foundation. The law is all about the "spirit".

---
"The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it." -- James Wilson

---

Re:Spirit of the law (2)

The Rizz (1319) | about a year ago | (#44034703)

What happened to the spirit of the law vs. letter of the law? Isn't it why there are judges?

No. Judges will usually side with the law, either because that's their job, or because that's what keeps Big Legal in business (depending on who you ask). (IMHO it's because Judges often worry about being seen as "soft on crime" and losing re-election.)

Spirit vs. letter of the law is what juries are there for [wikipedia.org] . Judges and lawyers often suppress this information from jurors, though.

Re:Spirit of the law (1)

HiThere (15173) | about a year ago | (#44034793)

This may, actually, be in keeping with the "spirit of the law". IIUC, "the spirit" of the laws regarding self-incrimination are to prevent confessions being coerced under torture. They haven't been totally effective at that, but they've done a "pretty good" job, and this doesn't seem to be a case that infringes onto that spirit. (Unlike various cases where someone is ordered to decrypt something...which does seem to infringe on that. I count being held in prision as a mild form of torture...which grades into a more extreme form in some cases.)

Anything you say or do. (2, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year ago | (#44034631)

When you remain silent, that is an action rather than a statement. Both your statements and actions can be used against you. It's right there in the Miranda rights.

Re:Anything you say or do. (3, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44034669)

Miranda rights are only read to you if you're being arrested. But I guess you'd have to read all the way to the fourth sentence in the summary to see that this guy hadn't been arrested at the time his silence was used against him.

Re:Anything you say or do. (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year ago | (#44034737)

Miranda rights are only read to you if you're being arrested. But I guess you'd have to read all the way to the fourth sentence in the summary to see that this guy hadn't been arrested at the time his silence was used against him.

So, whether you are arrested or not, your silence can be used against you. What is you point exactly? Have you never heard of the phrase "your silence speaks volumes"? The silence in a specific context can be more incriminating than anything a person might have to say.

Re:Anything you say or do. (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year ago | (#44035033)

Then let them use your silence. But keep in mind that if they brought you in, they think you are guilty, and they are simply building a case against you. They are not trying to exonerate you. You will not talk your way out. You are not smarter than them and they have the luxury of fucking up: you don't.

Black is white. War is peace. (5, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year ago | (#44034633)

The Supreme Court has managed to hold that in order to remain silent, you must speak.

Oh my people....

Re:Black is white. War is peace. (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44034811)

The issue here was that he did speak. Then didn't. Then did. If he had not ever said anything, then he wouldn't have had that held against him. Instead, he answered 100 (or whatever) questions, and didn't answer a single one of those in the middle. That omission was used against him.If he had the right to remain silent, he didn't exercise it because he kept talking. It he didn't answer a single question after, he likely would have been protected.

The real issue here isn't the 5th Amendment, but "non-custodial" being everything now. You are under "arrest-lite" when given a ticket on the side of the road. You don't have any rights of an arrestee, but if you drive off, you will be arrested for fleeing or resisting arrest or whatever it is in your jurisdiction, so you are obviously not free to leave. He was interrogated for an hour, but had no rights of an arrestee. The Constitution defines some things, but not others. So "arrest" was re-defined to suit the power-hungry conservatives (sorry, have to toss this in, since it's a conservative court, and this crap keeps coming down, but when a someone is up for election, the liars claim the Republicans are for a smaller non-invasive government).

Re:Black is white. War is peace. (5, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44034927)

I'm going to drop this [lawcomic.net] here.

It's a wonderful introduction to the issues at play, simplified enough to be easily understood, but not so simple as to be irrelevant.

Re:Black is white. War is peace. (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44034937)

The issue here was that he did speak. Then didn't. Then did.

In other words, he spoke. The headline is sensationalism. Either you spoke or you didn't, and this sounds like speaking to me. Otherwise, he was "just a little bit pregnant".

Re:Black is white. War is peace. (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year ago | (#44034817)

Your username nicely captures my response to this ruling.

not quite (3, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | about a year ago | (#44034821)

To claim your fifth amendment rights to not incriminate yourself, they've decided you need to explicitly claim them.

Also, there's nothing stopping the person from just not saying anything at all and asking for a lawyer.

In this case the person answered *some* questions, then didn't answer one, and never explicitly took the fifth.

How many times does it need to be repeated ? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034649)

Never, under any circumstances, talk to the police. If you are free to go, then leave. If you aren't then ask for a lawyer and shut up.

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034673)

+insightful

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#44034721)

I recall debating about that in the past. The question arose:

Office: "stay here."
Citizen: "Am I under arrest?"
Office: "you want to be? no you're not under arrest, not yet. but just stay here for right now."
Citizen: "Am I free to go?"
Officer: "What did I just say to you? No, you are not free to go. STAY HERE while we xxxxx"

this actually happens frequently. And I don't recall the issue being settled. If you can't leave, and aren't free to go, what is your legal status? What happens if you try to leave? (almost certainly bad things, resisting arrest, interfere with official acts, obstruction of justice, failure to obey an officer of the law, disturbing the peace, etc etc justifying arrest)

So you're kinda in a pickle when they tell you you're not under arrest AND you're not free to leave. Is there a lawyer in the house that can explore this situation, and maybe even suggest some advice? (I know, fat chance, "yes I am a lawyer, NO I am not YOUR lawyer, and this is not legal advice", but do what you can)

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (2)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#44034769)

My thought on that is that if there is an incident in progress the police should have the ability to require you to stay put as a witness or as a safety measure, but if there's no incident in progress the police have no right to require you to stay put unless you are under arrest.

IANAL and this is my thought on how it SHOULD be, I recognize that the cops will do whatever the hell they want and justify it later (if they even bother).

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034797)

If you are not free to go, you are under arrest.

The instant they say "no," is the instant you start asking "what crime am I suspected of committing?" instead of "am I free to go?"

When they say "nothing," then you go back to asking the first question.

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#44034827)

I think this is why in my state (Alabama), being pulled over is legally an arrest. It doesn't really make a difference in 99% of case, but it removes doubt if the situation gets more complicated.

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034881)

"Unless you are arresting or detaining me, I am leaving."

If he still stops you, you are being detained for questioning. Do not answer a fucking thing -- do not say one fucking word to them aside from giving your name without a lawyer present.

A simple statement is all it takes... (3, Interesting)

PairOfBlanks (2952901) | about a year ago | (#44034789)

Just say "I'm not sure whether or not I can be compelled to say anything about this (or surrender that item in my possession) or not". Authorities will instantly know that due process is the only way to go from there. Also, don't be rude to officers or play dumb about it. One line to stick to is all that's needed.

Re:How many times does it need to be repeated ? (0)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44034823)

Never, under any circumstances, talk to the police. If you are free to go, then leave.

And according to this ruling, apparently your refusal to talk to the police and leave can be brought up in court as evidence of your guilt.

Your move, smart guy.

Is it April 1st already? (0)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#44034653)

Seriously, wtf.

Re:Is it April 1st already? (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year ago | (#44034851)

Need to actually read the article instead of the usual bullshit over exaggerated summary. He wasn't convicted based on this, His silence on certain questions was simply allowed to be entered as evidence.

You are wrong (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034661)

This is not a new right. I just passed CA Bar exam, so I can tell you -- police cannot use post-Miranda silence against you, but they can use pre-Miranda silence against you, and it has been this way for a long time.

But this is a matter of the prosecution can bring it up and ask you -- "Hey you were talking and talking to the police about the murder, but when they asked you if ballistics tests would link your shotgun to the murder you suddenly got quiet, why is that?" -- which is what happened here.

Wow (2, Insightful)

squidflakes (905524) | about a year ago | (#44034665)

Ok, first off it's the Miranda Warning, not the Miranda Rights. You have them at all times, read to you or not. The warning is there to remind you that you have the option not to incriminate yourself.

Or, at least it was until this decision. Ahh, The Roberts Court, whittling our rights down one 5-4 at a time.

Bad Summary (5, Informative)

Aranykai (1053846) | about a year ago | (#44034667)

The client did not answer one of several questions, and the prosecutor simply stated he had no response when asked a particular question. He was not charged with a crime for not responding, and he was not convicted of a crime for not responding. The ruling here was that the prosecution could admit as evidence that he did not answer a particular question during a conversation with a detective. Completely different things.

This is why you DO NOT SAY ANYTHING to ANY QUESTION if you are being detained by the police. Be polite, request a lawyer and state frankly you are not answering any questions until you have counsel.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

cfsops (2922481) | about a year ago | (#44034785)

This is why you DO NOT SAY ANYTHING to ANY QUESTION if you are being detained by the police.

My understanding, albeit pedestrian, is that you are required to identify yourself, i.e. speak your name, and that some jurisdictions additionally require you to say where you live.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#44034921)

IANALBIPOO/.FWTWWIN (I Am Not A Lawyer But I Play One On /. For What That's Worth, Which Is Nothing)

No, you do not have to identify yourself. You can literally remain absolutely silent. However, when processing you into jail, they have to verify your identity. Telling them your name and address can speed up that process so you can get working on getting bailed out more quickly.

Re:Bad Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034951)

I think if you ask for a lawyer everything must stop until your lawyer appears. So just ask for your lawyer in every case even if its on the street. If they want to push it then they have to wait even for your name. And you are not refusing to answer. You are refusing to answer without counsel.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44034847)

Your silly rationality means nothing to me! Nothing!

Cops are only allowed to use evidence I give them willingly, and they can't think, and they can't do any sort of investigation unless I tell them to! I am an American, so I have the inherent right to do absolutely anything, and say absolutely anything, to absolutely anyone, and anyone who opposes me is clearly an agent of the oppressive Enemy!

(if the sarcasm here isn't quite thick enough to notice, at least my signature is sincere)

Re:Bad Summary (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#44034855)

... state frankly you are not answering any questions until you have counsel.

And even then don't answer any questions directly if you can manage it. Always communicate answers to any questions only to your lawyer who will relay your answers to the police.

Re:Bad Summary (-1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#44034873)

Or, alternatively, don't commit crimes.

The cops can ask me any question they want. I know I didn't kill someone with a shotgun.

Re:Bad Summary (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44035023)

I know I didn't kill someone with a shotgun.

I don't know that.

And I might be on your jury.

Re:Bad Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034941)

Yes. Excellent advice. But perhaps the reading public needs a lawyer to tell them this... so here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

Makes sense to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034675)

Defendants are allowed to be silent and not to testify on their own behalf. Prosecutors and jurors are allowed to take that into account; it's up to the defendant's lawyers to spin the silence before the jury by speculating on why they may have done so, other than guilt.

During the Congressional hearings on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League baseball, the slugger Mark McGwire answered some general questions regarding his opinions but repeatedly responded "I don't want to discuss the past. I want to talk about the future" to pointed questions regarding whether he used steroids himself. Committee members decided not to give him a break, so McGwire had to take the fifth to the point of monotony in front of the national televised audience.

Everybody who watched that got their answer as to whether McGwire had used steroids during his record-shattering seasons (several years later, he admitted that he had).

Hey.. would ya pass me the constitution.. (-1, Troll)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about a year ago | (#44034699)

I need some more ass wipes.

Re:Hey.. would ya pass me the constitution.. (1)

The Rizz (1319) | about a year ago | (#44034743)

Sorry, it's been pretty well used up by a combination of Bush/Obama and the Roberts Court. It'd be like trying to wipe your ass with Swiss cheese at this point.

Re:Hey.. would ya pass me the constitution.. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#44034897)

Hey now, keep the liberal side of the Court represented in that list. They are the ones that decided the government can take your land and give it to a casino developer.

Re:Hey.. would ya pass me the constitution.. (1)

The Rizz (1319) | about a year ago | (#44034969)

Hey now, keep the liberal side of the Court represented in that list.

A) They are covered in the blanket "Roberts Court" designation; and
B) You mean "less conservative", not "liberal".

Re:Hey.. would ya pass me the constitution.. (4, Informative)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#44035081)

As much bad news about the Constitution as we've had lately, here's the sitch from TFA:

On the morning of December 18, 1992, two brothers were shot and killed in their Houston home. There were no witnesses to the murders, but a neighbor who heard gunshots saw someone run out of the house and speed away in a dark-colored car. Police recovered six shotgun shell casings at the scene. The investigation led police to petitioner, who had been a guest at a party the victims hosted the night before they were killed. Police visited petitioner at his home, where they saw a dark blue car in the driveway. He agreed to hand over his shotgun for ballistics testing and to accompany police to the station for questioning.

Petitioner's interview with the police lasted approximately one hour. All agree that the interview was noncustodial, and the parties litigated this case on the assumption that he was not read Miranda warnings. For most of the interview, petitioner answered the officer's questions. But when asked whether his shotgun "would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder," petitioner declined to answer. Instead, petitioner "[l]ooked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, cl[e]nched his hands in his lap, [and] began to tighten up." After a few moments of silence, the officer asked additional questions, which petitioner answered [citations omitted by me].

He wasn't under arrest and was voluntarily answering questions. Then not. Then was. He just shouldn't have talked to or gone with the cops in the first place.

Rights for the innocent (0)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#44034713)

`If your innocent just don't hide behind silence, I've stated how I feel about stuff like this a few times and been chewed out for it. I'm going to say my feelings again, innocent people who want to appear innocent don't act guilty and silence just like refusing DNA is a guilty act.

Re:Rights for the innocent (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44034753)

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -- Cardinal Richilieu

Re:Rights for the innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034759)

I like the subject. So... only innocents have rights. And innocence, being non-computable, must be guessed. So only people I decide have rights have rights. That's a great law for policy enforcement! I meant... law enforcement!

Re:Rights for the innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034801)

`If your innocent just don't hide behind silence, I've stated how I feel about stuff like this a few times and been chewed out for it. I'm going to say my feelings again, innocent people who want to appear innocent don't act guilty and silence just like refusing DNA is a guilty act.

You sir, are either quite uninformed or are trolling. If it's the former, I suggest you check this [youtube.com] out.

Re:Rights for the innocent (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44034863)

Let's just change the miranda rights script to say "anything can and will be used against you... if you say something it can and will be used against you... if you say nothing, it can and will be used against you." Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

If this isn't cause to oppose the entire judicial system, I don't know what is. When you make people believe that they are screwed no matter what they do, even when it is within their rights, people are going to just decide not to lay down and take it -- they'll fight back in some OTHER way.

Let's say this another way: This decision endangers law enforcement personnel.

Re:Rights for the innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034991)

Take your rose colored glasses off an take a look at the real world. (And watch the video that people keep linking to.)
Think a little about the part that says ANYTHING you say CAN and WILL be used against you.

WTH? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034735)

What the hell has been going on with the United States these last few years? I'm no conspiracy nut, but the end effect is practically indistinguishable from what you'd get from a concerted effort to do away with the US Constitution.

Damn it, America! You used to be cool.

Re:WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034841)

Why go to all the work of getting rid of the constitution when we can just ignore it instead?

Funny how as we go through life we realize that everything we learned in math class was right and everything we learned in social studies class was wrong.

Typical Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034829)

One hundred responses and not a single one interested as to whether the suspect is actually guilty of the crime or not.

Re:Typical Slashdot (5, Insightful)

LandGator (625199) | about a year ago | (#44035003)

> One hundred responses and not a single one interested as to whether the suspect is actually guilty of the crime or not.

His guilt, sir or madam, is irrelevant. This is a change in case law, which concerned citizens need to share with others: If you say anything but the legal minimum, you're giving away an advantage to the prosecution which can be used against you even if innocent.

Re:Typical Slashdot (2)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#44035025)

Of course he's guilty. Why else would the police have arrested him? :p

Conservative court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034831)

That is what a "Conservative" court gets you: Fascism.

Well there you have it! (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44034835)

No one understands the constitution and what it is for.

While it may be common practice for people to assert their 5th amendment rights, I fail to see how stating that assertion is a requirement. And problems with this ruling are glaringly obvious. What if someone merely doesn't understand the question being asked?!

If I were in the same position and someone asked me if my shotgun would match the bullistics of some-such, I would not answer either. Why? Because the question doesn't make sense!!!! We're talking about a shotgun -- a scatter-gun if you will. That's the awesome thing about those weapons. They don't HAVE ballistics, Shotguns are not rifles. They don't leave marks on their projectiles which could trace a shot back to the shotgun that fired it. The closest they could come to connecting the two is GSR and that's just matching brands of shotgun shells.

What could have been going through this guy's mind when they asked him the question? "Is this a trap? Why would they ask me this stupid question? If I tell them I think the question is stupid, will they become hostile to me? I don't want to provike them! My mom used to say 'If you can't say anything nice, say nothing!' What are these people trying to do?! Oh thank god they moved on to another question..."

The government is now stating that a person much know their rights for their rights to exist. And this same government threatens all manner of trouble for anyone who teaches and explains to people what their rights are. Can we finally all agree that government is fully and generally opposed to people having any rights at all?

Re:Well there you have it! (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year ago | (#44035019)

The government is now stating that a person much know their rights for their rights to exist. And this same government threatens all manner of trouble for anyone who teaches and explains to people what their rights are. Can we finally all agree that government is fully and generally opposed to people having any rights at all?

Since they seem to keep violating them at will, they probably feel it's better if we're in the dark on that point.

Here are some other fun facts:
1. Officers can arrest you without invoking Miranda. They only need that if they want to use your statements in evidence after the arrest has been made.
2. Officers are under no requirement to tell you your rights, and are perfectly free to lie to you about them if you ask.

5th Amendment (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44034871)

The Fifth Amendment protects witnesses from being forced to incriminate themselves. It doesn't protect you from being tricked into incriminating yourself.

There are specific requirements for Miranda to apply, and for exclusion to be in play.

Evidence must have been gathered.
The evidence must be testimonial.
The evidence must have been obtained while the suspect was in custody.
The evidence must have been the product of interrogation.
The interrogation must have been conducted by state-agents.
The evidence must be offered by the state during a criminal prosecution.

So basically yes, your rights are lower if you are not in the custody of the state. Compulsion is not in play.

Just say no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034903)

Quote from my law teacher in high school. First question ... Am I under arrest officer? or What am I being charged with? If no answer. Say I am walking away don't shoot me in the back. Or thank you, I will be driving away now.

Well I guess it is time to watch this again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034925)

...and again.... and again... until it fucking sinks in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

(Specific to US)

Stop Bitching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44034965)

To everyone bitching and complaining: actually read the article, maybe.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/06/17/58578.htm

Should I point out (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#44034983)

We live in a country where it can be illegal to dig a hole or pickup a feather off the ground.(Depending on the circumstances and yes really.) As this video points out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com] NEVER TALK TO THE POLICE. There's so many laws a prosecutor can find anything if he feels like it. Hell, even the cop in that video says you should never talk to him. To put a bigger point on it even in the video they give a quote from Robert Jackson(prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials) who said "...any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances."

Well then... (2)

Zamphatta (1760346) | about a year ago | (#44035087)

If speaking and not speaking can both result in incriminating yourself, then would this mean that the only way to use your 5th amendment right of not incriminating yourself, be to lie to the police & court?

That would make things insane, 'cause if you get busted for perjury, you can claim innocence 'cause you did it under your 5th amendment right since it's the only way to avoid incriminating yourself. Then they legally can't prosecute you for it without going against the constitution. I'm sure they'll probably still try to prosecute you.

If you have a decent enough lawyer to get you off, then could it mean a mistrial in the original court case where you perjured, since none of the testimony from you (or anyone else) could be considered legitimate? After all, the people testifying against you could also be lying in order to avoid incriminating themselves.

This could get really sticky really fast.

ill never understand... (3, Informative)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about a year ago | (#44035103)

...why soooo many people ever EVER talk to the police if the are even the least bit guilty of a crime...just shut up from the start.

i live in florida and have had my issues with law enforcement. what people don't really understand about the Casey Anthony case is that SHE NEVER NEVER INCRIMINATED herself...ever! Its the main reason she got away with it...the prosecution was so used to having someone ANYONE sit on the stand and say "yes SHE DID IT and I saw it" that they hardly knew how to proceed without that bullet in their gun. I've seen the state drop serious felony charges against folks because they just didn't say a word when arrested, even with damning physical evidence!

Don't you all know that 95% of all cases that go to trial are won by the prosecution on eyewitness testimony and self-incriminating statements? In other words, informants and defendants statements...not super-CSI high tech gadgets that network primetime TV likes to brainwash the...well, whoever it is who still watches that stuff...idk anymore who the heck that is.

Oh well...i could go on about personal experiences in this matter but...i would DEFINITELY be incriminating myself...

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