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SCOTUS: Silence Can Be Evidence of Guilt

June 20, 2013  | 

Photo: POLICE file
Photo: POLICE file
Crime suspects need to speak up if they want to invoke their legal right to remain silent, the Supreme Court said Monday in a ruling that highlights the limited reach of the famous Miranda decision.

The 5-4 ruling upheld the murder conviction of a Texas man who bit his lip and sat silently when a police officer asked him about the shotgun shells that were found at the scene of a double slaying. They had been traced to the suspect's shotgun.

At his trial, prosecutors pointed to the defendant's silence as evidence of his guilt. In affirming the conviction of Genovevo Salinas, the court's majority admitted that some suspects might think they had a right to say nothing.

"Popular misconceptions notwithstanding," the Constitution "does not establish an unqualified 'right to remain silent,'" said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Read the full Los Angeles Times story.

Tags: U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Miranda Law, Interrogation


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Bob@Az. @ 6/21/2013 7:13 PM

Yo, SCOTUS, does that ruling apply to the IRS, DOJ and this administration? Blues, Stay Safe.

OLD SGT @ 6/22/2013 10:33 AM

YOUR DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DON'T...SAY ANYTHING THAT IS! THE ABOVE CAPTIONED RULING ACTUALLY
NULLIFIES THE SCOTUS RULING IN "MIRANDA"...YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT... BUT NOW YOU DON'T...CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS FOLKS. THESE RULINGS ARE COMPLETELY CONTRADICTORY!!!

Jijm A @ 6/23/2013 7:09 PM

I do not see this decision and Miranda to be contradictory. What it means is that "anything you say can be used against you" and "anything you don't say can be used against you". In other words, the court is saying that if you want to remain silent, you must say that you wish to remain silent. If you want an attorney, you must say that you want an attorney. The cop is not required to guess what the suspect is thinking. Continue on, good investigator.

Good job, Justice Alito and like thinkers!!

Miranda is so well known that the courts were thinking of doing away with it. EVERYONE knows they have the right to remain silent. Some suspects, when faced with his impending arrest or conviction, ACTS like he does not understand when he actually does understand. It is all part of the game.

Liberals want the police to carry out their jobs with their hands tied, mouths closed, eyes closed, and without removing any weapons from their duty belts. Getting shot at, beaten, or spit upon is just a part of the policeman's job. They try to tie the hands of the police in favor of the unlawful citizen. That is just plain BS. We do not get paid to be the target.

I agree that the police should follow "the rules", but the rules should not be set so they automatically favor the suspect. Failure for the police to follow "the rules" results in loss of statements, evidence, and cases. There HAS to be some consequence for the bad guy not following "the rules". Otherwise society falls to pieces. (Wait, isn't that already happening?!)

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