Hornsby & Hornsby, Attorneys at Law            (205) 856-1000

Experienced Counsel, a Personal Touch

Slam the Gavel Blog

Do You Really Have a Right to Remain Silent?

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on April 18, 2013 at 6:50 PM

          Anyone who has watched an episode of Law & Order, NYPD Blue, or Miami Vice has heard those famous words: “You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law....” As you may know, it’s known as “Mirandizing” a suspect, a term coined from the Supreme Court case that ruled that police are required to make these and other disclosures prior to “custodial interrogation.”

 

          Most attorneys, if given the chance, would advise their client to do just that – remain silent. Little good can come from running your mouth in a situation where the police have already decided that you’re their man (or woman, just to be fair). You’re probably not going to talk your way out of the mess, at least not right then. So both practically and legally speaking, the prudent thing to do is to remain silent.

 

          But what if your silence could be used against you to demonstrate your guilt to the jury later on? In a case before the Supreme Court, prosecutors in Texas had successfully used a defendant’s silence to help prove him guilty of murder to a jury. The trial court judge had allowed the prosecution to argue that by remaining silent in response to questions by police, the defendant basically admitted his guilt. This particular defendant had been freely talking to police until the officer asked him if certain shell casings were going to match a rifle that he had. It seems that the defendant then realized the possibility of a ballistics match for the first time and also realized he may be in trouble after all. So he did exactly what he thought he had the right to do – remain silent. Importantly, he had not yet been arrested, and therefore had not been advised of his rights (Mirandized), nor were the police obligated to Mirandize him at that point.

 

          But the issue in front of the Supreme Court is whether or not that right to remain silent extends to the time prior to the arrest. Some of the comments of the individual Justices indicate that there is a possibility that the Court may determine that your pre-arrest silence can be used against you to prove guilt. Is it good policy (or even Constitutional) for the police to be able to question you prior to arrest, and then be allowed to use either your answers or your silence against you in court? It seems that such a ruling by the Court would place future suspects in a Catch-22. Either talk to the police and risk incriminating yourself, or don’t talk to police…and risk incriminating yourself.

Categories: None

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

2199 Comments

Reply UrielBype
1:22 PM on October 10, 2022 
30000 Euro Kredit
Reply praisk
11:57 AM on October 11, 2022 
buy generic stromectol pharm support group without prescription merck stromectol - stromectolcrx "buy stromectol europe stromectol 3 mg/ivermectin
Reply Zyloprim bep
7:43 PM on October 11, 2022 
order furosemide 100 mg order furosemide 100mg furosemide 40mg united states
Reply poique
6:00 AM on October 12, 2022 
how long does ivermectin take to work for covid - stromectolcrx
Reply ArloHop
4:15 PM on October 12, 2022 
KNK-Fahrzeugpflege GmbH
Reply Sedinets
6:56 PM on October 12, 2022 
Reply Allopurinol bep
1:56 AM on October 13, 2022 
allegra 120mg no prescription allegra 180mg cost where can i buy allegra 180mg
Reply Kobebori
10:36 AM on October 13, 2022 
6000 euro lenen
Reply Zanaflex bep
5:44 PM on October 13, 2022 
amaryl nz cheapest amaryl 1mg amaryl 4 mg pharmacy
Reply Jesusbori
4:06 PM on October 14, 2022 
75000 euro lenen
Reply Edwardtak
9:17 PM on October 15, 2022 
OMV Tankstelle
Reply Vabooda
11:59 AM on October 16, 2022 
Reply Lamisil bep
12:36 PM on October 16, 2022 
reglan without prescription reglan 10 mg tablet how to purchase reglan 10 mg
Reply Calebtak
11:57 PM on October 16, 2022 
Bft Stefan Rudolph Kfz-Meisterbetrieb Reifenservice & Kfz-Werkstatt
Reply Nortriptyline bep
4:24 PM on October 17, 2022 
order periactin where to buy periactin 4 mg periactin online
Reply arraste
3:05 AM on October 18, 2022 
lasix side effects Friends and family of Couvillon, University of Windsor researchers and interested members of the medical community from as far away as Toronto gathered at the Dr
Reply Bluetle
8:21 AM on October 18, 2022 
In basic English, And as mentioned in our article what do steroids do, a Halodrol cycle may cause your testicles to shrink dosage of lasix for congestive heart failure
Reply neappy
9:45 PM on October 18, 2022 
ivermectin stromectol 12mg can i use ivermectin on chickens is ivermectin paste safe for human consumption
Reply Ampicillin bep
10:50 PM on October 18, 2022 
prilosec 20mg uk prilosec medication prilosec online pharmacy
Reply SonnyNip
4:05 PM on October 19, 2022 
prestito fino a 4000 euro