Defendant’s Silence at Trial
In Salinas v Texas, a recent United States Supreme Court case, the court decided that the use at trial of the defendant’s silence during an interview when he was not in custody did not violate the Fifth Amendment. In this case, the Defendant was not in custody and had not been given his Miranda warnings, but voluntarily answered a police officer’s questions about a murder. The defendant did not answer questions when he was asked if his shotgun would match the shells recovered at the murder scene. He instead looked at the ground, shuffled his feet, bit his lip and otherwise appeared nervous. When the officer asked additional questions, the defendant answered them.
At trial the prosecutor argued that the defendant’s reaction to the officer’s questions suggested he was guilty of the murder. The defendant was convicted. On appeal, the defendant argued that use of his silence was a violation of the Fifth Amendment and his Motion to Suppress should have been granted.
The Court concluded that the defendant’s claim failed because he did not expressly invoke the privilege in response to the officer’s question and no exception applied to excuse his failure to invoke the privilege.
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The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have had decades of experience practicing exclusively criminal law. The criminal law can change, sometimes, daily. When you, or someone you love, is charged with a felony or misdeanor and facing possible incarceration, it is extremely important that you have a legal team that is highly knowledgeable with constitutional law. Only the most experienced, respected attorneys can give you the best possible defense. Please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.
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