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, you forgot something.


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

Already a member? Sign In


Reply NeteNoupt
5:58 AM on November 10, 2022 
The evolutionary history and specific somatic mutations that gave rise to the primary tumours may have rendered them non responsive prior to diagnosis and subsequent treatment buy cialis pro As can be seen, in test A, patients are simply tested for 4
Reply Numimputs
6:58 AM on November 15, 2022 
The need for irradiation of the IMN for patients with 1 3 node positive BC is still under debate, and many centres have excluded radiation to the lower IMN purchase cialis online cheap
Reply paywhen
8:41 AM on November 16, 2022 
xenical how many to take a day
Reply GofProor
3:34 PM on November 24, 2022 
gta online casino glitch casino open today big easy casino
Reply envillLib
7:52 AM on November 25, 2022 
This week marks the 15th anniversary of their collaboration cialis 5mg best price
Reply juinguh
2:23 PM on November 26, 2022 
norvir manfaat lapraz lansoprazole The shameful Western silence in the face of the travesties of justice now occurring in Russia merely encourage the current rulers to profess that the West is corrupt, decadent and generally devoid of any moral value or lessons for Russia cialis with dapoxetine
Reply emparf
5:22 PM on November 26, 2022 
buy cryptocurrency exchange
Reply lillWarm
11:52 PM on November 26, 2022 
railroad pass hotel and casino seminole casino hollywood harrah's cherokee casino resort cherokee nc
Reply easenny
1:33 PM on November 28, 2022 
xenical 120 mg does it work
Reply Erypemerb
12:46 AM on December 9, 2022 
buy cialis online Ineligible study design PubMed 15314244
Reply Deb
6:04 PM on December 11, 2022 
he 7Bet is the best choice slot playgroud.You can play
it everytime.Because the 7Bet supports Android and iOS.Joining
the 7Bet will receive 100% of the newcomer bonus.Don't miss
it!Hope you can get more fun there.
Reply candipharm com
9:09 PM on December 11, 2022 
Reply juinguh
11:43 AM on December 13, 2022 
Peak plasma levels are obtained 0 cialis 40 mg
Reply VernonAcado
4:56 PM on December 13, 2022 
pharmacy without dr prescriptions mail order pharmacies
Reply xbetsfa
10:45 AM on December 14, 2022 

Slot your bets with a sound betting company! Sports betting in Flaming and line. A- odds.
Reply Danielvus
8:27 PM on December 16, 2022 
best canadian pharmacies trustworthy canadian pharmacy
Reply JamesShony
7:56 AM on December 18, 2022 
reputable online pharmacy pharmacy canada
https://noprescriptioncanada.com/# legit canadian online pharmacy
Reply Jeremynof
8:04 AM on December 19, 2022 
https://noprescriptioncanada.com/# most reliable online pharmacy