SUPREME COURT DECLARES SILENCE CAN BE HELD AGAINST YOU
Last week, the Supreme Court weighed in on a case where the defendant claimed that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated because his silence was used against him in the case. The defendant was originally called in as
a witness on a murder case, and was responding to officers’ questions when they asked him if his shotgun shells would match the shells found at the scene of the crime. At this time, the man who had been open to talk before clammed up and would not answer any more questions. He refused to respond to law enforcement, shuffled his feet, and displayed signs of extreme discomfort.
The man was arrested for his incriminating behaviors, and eventually convicted as the murderer in a case in Texas. His defense attorney then appealed the case, claiming that because his silence was used as evidence of guilt, the case was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court looked at the situation, and justices decided that the man should be found guilty for murder and that his silence could be used to prove this fact.
They say that this is because the man was not under arrest at the time
that the interview took place. Instead, the defendant was in the middle
of a witness interview. He had not been arrested, and had not been read
his Miranda Rights. Now, the Supreme Court claims that before an arrest
or before Miranda Rights are read, law enforcement can use a person’s
silence as evidence that they are guilty of a crime.
This has far-reaching implications for criminal cases in every state. If
you have been arrested for a crime and your silence was used against you,
you need to get a Houston criminal defense lawyer involved right away. With the right criminal defense attorney on your side you may be able to challenge your case and receive a reduced sentence or a dismissal!