• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Supreme Court: Suspects must invoke right to remain silent in interrogations

aps

Passionate
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 25, 2005
Messages
15,675
Reaction score
2,979
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
Has someone posted about this new ruling?

Here is where the liberal judges on the Court and I disagree. I totally support the ruling in this case, which was decided by the righties and Anthony Kennedy. Sotomayor is apparently furious about it. Sorry, toots. ;)

Criminal suspects should speak up if they want to preserve their right to remain silent, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. Conservative justices ruled for police in the latest test of the court's famous Miranda rule and shifted the burden to suspects to invoke their right to refuse questioning.

The court ruled 5 to 4 that a Michigan defendant who incriminated himself in a fatal shooting by saying one word after nearly three hours of questioning had given up his right to silence, and that the statement could be used against him at trial.

"Where the prosecution shows that a Miranda warning was given and that it was understood by the accused, an accused's uncoerced statement establishes an implied waiver of the right to remain silent," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.

washingtonpost.com
Those who disagree with the ruling, can you tell me why it's a bad decision? This defendant voluntarily said something in response to a question.
 

Caine

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Messages
23,344
Reaction score
7,210
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this decision, coming from THIS law enforcers perspective.
This decision clarifies the question of the admissibility of testimony when someone decides that they do not want to verbally or non-verbally invoke or waive their rights.
It also closes a loophole so that it cannot be used in future defense to get an admittedly guilty person off of a crime. We don't need more criminals getting off on BS technicalities.

Kudos to the Supreme Court.
 

rivrrat

Goddess of Bacon
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,988
Reaction score
6,593
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I'm confused. Okay, so you're TOLD that you 'have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you'. And the suspect SAYS something. This ruling just confirms that it can be used against them? Just seems redundant, or am I missing something?
 

tacomancer

Capitalist Social Democrat
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
41,610
Reaction score
22,194
Location
Akron
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
I don't see this ruling as a problem either. There doesn't seem to be much of a burden placed on an individual to say "I wish to remain silent." Also it gets it out in the open and reduces the necessity of judgment calls which should make the process easier for everyone involved.
 

aps

Passionate
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 25, 2005
Messages
15,675
Reaction score
2,979
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
I'm confused. Okay, so you're TOLD that you 'have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you'. And the suspect SAYS something. This ruling just confirms that it can be used against them? Just seems redundant, or am I missing something?
I need to read the dissent to see what Sotomayor says, but I think that once a defendant invokes his Miranda rights, it used to be that the police must stop asking questions period. In this case, they asked him a question after he invoked his right to remain silent. I agree--that's HIS problem that he chose to speak!
 

aps

Passionate
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 25, 2005
Messages
15,675
Reaction score
2,979
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this decision, coming from THIS law enforcers perspective.
This decision clarifies the question of the admissibility of testimony when someone decides that they do not want to verbally or non-verbally invoke or waive their rights.
It also closes a loophole so that it cannot be used in future defense to get an admittedly guilty person off of a crime. We don't need more criminals getting off on BS technicalities.

Kudos to the Supreme Court.
I always like hearing/reading people's thoughts whose work implicate the holdings in a particular Supreme Court case. The thought that this guy could have gotten off just because he answered a question is disgusting, IMO. Tough luck, dude (the defendant).
 

Caine

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Messages
23,344
Reaction score
7,210
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I need to read the dissent to see what Sotomayor says, but I think that once a defendant invokes his Miranda rights, it used to be that the police must stop asking questions period. In this case, they asked him a question after he invoked his right to remain silent. I agree--that's HIS problem that he chose to speak!
As I read it, He failed to either invoke nor waive his right when given the opportunity to do so. He literally remained silent, even to the question of whether he wanted to waive or invoke his rights. Without a clear signal of what he wished to do, Detectives continued to talk to him and ask him questions which he ignored, just as he did the opportunity to invoke or waive his rights.

Had he stated he did not wish to speak to Detectives without an attorney, or that he did not wish to speak to Detectives period, then the "questioning" would have ceased. Instead he did neither. He, in a sense, just looked at the Detectives like they had a dick growing out of their forehead.

All this does is make it necessary for someone to actually give a response so that we may carry on with the next item on the list of **** to do. Breaking "silence" to invoke or waive rights is NOT self incriminating.

Personally, I disagree with the Miranda warning in general. Its not a police officer's responsibility to give suspects a civics lesson, and nowhere in the constitution does it state so. However, the Supreme Court is "Supreme" and created this requirement, void any constitutional requirement for us to do so, so it must be done.

As far As I can See, Sotomayor's dissent is just whining about semantics, Boo hoo, They have to break their silence to inform a Detective they wish to remain silent. Sounds like a judge who loves loopholes if you ask me.
 
Last edited:

rathi

Count Smackula
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
7,890
Reaction score
4,730
Location
California
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
This ruling is just obnoxious. If a suspect refuses to speak a word after being advised of their right to remain silent, its clear that they are invoking the right. Its a catch 22 if you have to speak to invoke your right, but speaking automatically waives your right. While its not a huge issue, I don't like the government playing tricks to get around constitutional protections.
 

Caine

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Messages
23,344
Reaction score
7,210
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
This ruling is just obnoxious. If a suspect refuses to speak a word after being advised of their right to remain silent, its clear that they are invoking the right. Its a catch 22 if you have to speak to invoke your right, but speaking automatically waives your right. While its not a huge issue, I don't like the government playing tricks to get around constitutional protections.
Stating that You wish to waive your right to self incrimination is not self incrimination. Thus it does not violate the constitution.

I find people who come to the conclusion that speaking up to invoke your right to remain silent about the charges pending against you as unconstituional to be obnoxious.

I don't like people playing tricks to waste time and be a douche just for the sake of being a douche, Just ****ing say you don't want to talk and stop wasting time, don't stare at someone like they have a dick growing out of their forehead.
 

RightinNYC

Girthless
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
25,893
Reaction score
12,484
Location
New York, NY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
This ruling is just obnoxious. If a suspect refuses to speak a word after being advised of their right to remain silent, its clear that they are invoking the right. Its a catch 22 if you have to speak to invoke your right, but speaking automatically waives your right. While its not a huge issue, I don't like the government playing tricks to get around constitutional protections.
You don't waive your right to remain silent by speaking once, or twice, or ten times, as you can assert the right at any point in the process. If a cop asks you your name and you answer, that doesn't mean that you then are forced to answer his questions about a murder. You can just say "I don't want to answer any more questions" or "I want to talk to a lawyer" or just sit there silently.

In the case at hand, the cops brought a guy in for questioning. They read him his rights and then started asking him questions. He ignored most of the questions, but answered others. Eventually, he answered a question in a way that incriminated him. He argued that by virtue of the fact that he remained mostly silent, that was the same thing as asserting his right to silence. I think that's an incredibly strained reading, as he very clearly did not stay silent, instead answering questions sporadically.

One of the best comments I've seen on the decision:

Justice Sotomayor criticized the majority for going further than needed to decide the case before it. True, but it is kind of odd to make that criticism in a Miranda case, as Miranda itself is the exemplar of going further than necessary to decide the case.
 

samsmart

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
10,316
Reaction score
6,470
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
We don't need more criminals getting off on BS technicalities.
We also don't need the civil liberties and civil rights of people infringed either.
 

RightinNYC

Girthless
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
25,893
Reaction score
12,484
Location
New York, NY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
We also don't need the civil liberties and civil rights of people infringed either.
I'm not the biggest fan of our justice system, but I have a hard time seeing how this will really infringe on the civil liberties of anyone. This is the first time the court has had occasion to address this particular issue in the 45 years since Miranda, and only a perfect storm of circumstances would actually lead to a different result post-Berghuis than pre-.
 

samsmart

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
10,316
Reaction score
6,470
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
I'm not the biggest fan of our justice system, but I have a hard time seeing how this will really infringe on the civil liberties of anyone. This is the first time the court has had occasion to address this particular issue in the 45 years since Miranda, and only a perfect storm of circumstances would actually lead to a different result post-Berghuis than pre-.
In this particular case, I agree with you. However, I was more addressing the poster's comment on how the Supreme Court should rule to help criminals get off on technicalities. I find this somewhat dangerous for defendants. This is especially the case when the Supreme Court has made rulings such as criminals do not have a Constitutional right to access DNA evidence to appeal their conviction, despite prosecutors using it to go after people who committed crimes years before the technology was available.
 

Ikari

Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
75,327
Reaction score
43,315
Location
Colorado
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
In this particular case, I agree with you. However, I was more addressing the poster's comment on how the Supreme Court should rule to help criminals get off on technicalities. I find this somewhat dangerous for defendants. This is especially the case when the Supreme Court has made rulings such as criminals do not have a Constitutional right to access DNA evidence to appeal their conviction, despite prosecutors using it to go after people who committed crimes years before the technology was available.
This is a fair assessment. In this particular case, I think the SCOTUS ruling is fine. You are informed of your right to keep silent, and if you don't than anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. So just don't say anything. Maybe at most "I'm invoking my right to stay silent". But in general, you are also correct that we shouldn't let our overzealous nature of wanting to jail the "bad guys" overcome our sense and sensibility when it comes to upholding our individual rights and liberties.
 

Caine

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Messages
23,344
Reaction score
7,210
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
We also don't need the civil liberties and civil rights of people infringed either.
Nothing is being infringed upon.
Responding to a specific non incriminating question on whether you wish to invoke your right to remain silent/attorney present instead of looking at someone like they have a dick growing out of their forehead is not infringing upon civil liberties.
 

Caine

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Messages
23,344
Reaction score
7,210
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
In this particular case, I agree with you. However, I was more addressing the poster's comment on how the Supreme Court should rule to help criminals get off on technicalities. I find this somewhat dangerous for defendants. This is especially the case when the Supreme Court has made rulings such as criminals do not have a Constitutional right to access DNA evidence to appeal their conviction, despite prosecutors using it to go after people who committed crimes years before the technology was available.
The topic is this decision on Miranda, not anything else. Don't intentionally misconstrue my argument in an effort to disagree with me just to disagree with me.
THIS (note Im talking about THIS Miranda decision) is an example of the Superme court making a decision to clairfy the Supreme court's own creation of Miranda warning. Anyone who was let go because they incriminated themselves after responding to questions when they never made it clear whether they wanted to waive nor invoke their right and then decided to answer a question IS an example of a BS technicality, which our legal system is full of.
 

the makeout hobo

Rockin' In The Free World
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
7,102
Reaction score
1,504
Location
Sacramento, CA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

A Michigan man will continue serving a life sentence for murder after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that he gave up his rights against self-incrimination because he did not explicitly tell police he wanted to remain silent after his arrest.
The 5-4 decision overturns a ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and reinstates Van Chester Thompkins' conviction for a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield.
Detroit attorney Elizabeth Jacobs, who argued the case for Thompkins, 33, in front of the Supreme Court in March, said the ruling is "very disappointing." The court is "diminishing Miranda rights as we know them," Jacobs said.
So this man is arrested and read his Miranda rights. He didn't answer any questions deeper than "Is your chair hard" for more than two hours, clearly using his right to remain silent. Then after two hours of grilling, he answers a question. It seems to me that he was clearly trying to invoke his Miranda rights, and gave up after the police refused to stop questioning him. Nowhere in the Miranda rights does it say "You must specifically declare you are using your right to remain silent." This ruling undermines our basic rights.
 

Deuce

Outer space potato man
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
75,106
Reaction score
32,926
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

"...anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."

DONT CONFESS THINGS TO THE POLICE. HOW HARD IS THIS?
 

the makeout hobo

Rockin' In The Free World
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
7,102
Reaction score
1,504
Location
Sacramento, CA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

"...anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."

DONT CONFESS THINGS TO THE POLICE. HOW HARD IS THIS?
They interrogated him for 2 hours straight until he said something.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
939
Reaction score
96
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

They interrogated him for 2 hours straight until he said something.
So... Deuce is completely right on this. Don't confess to a crime if you don't want to be caught! I thought that was common sense.
 

Your Star

Rage More!
DP Veteran
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
27,246
Reaction score
19,931
Location
Georgia
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Progressive
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

They interrogated him for 2 hours straight until he said something.
He still had the right to not say anything.
 

Redress

Liberal Fascist For Life!
Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
106,835
Reaction score
50,748
Location
Georgia
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

So... Deuce is completely right on this. Don't confess to a crime if you don't want to be caught! I thought that was common sense.
He did not actually confess. He got caught with a "trick" question:

But he later answered "yes" when one of the officers asked him if he prayed for forgiveness for "shooting that boy down."
First point: I don't feel bad for the guy at all. He is almost 100 % certainly guilty. The issue to me is not whether justice is served in his particular case, but whether the ruling itself is right. Short answer...I am torn, I can see both sides. You are told anything you say can be used against you, but as the little of the dissent mentioned in the article says, having to speak to say you wish to remain silent is counter intuitive.
 

Deuce

Outer space potato man
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
75,106
Reaction score
32,926
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

They interrogated him for 2 hours straight until he said something.
Right. And I totally agree that they shouldn't do that. Police procedures should be clarified on the subject.

But he was guilty and he told them he was guilty. He waived his right to silence by speaking to them.
 

the makeout hobo

Rockin' In The Free World
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
7,102
Reaction score
1,504
Location
Sacramento, CA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

Right. And I totally agree that they shouldn't do that. Police procedures should be clarified on the subject.

But he was guilty and he told them he was guilty. He waived his right to silence by speaking to them.
I would say that they refused him his right to be silent by continuing to question him when he was clearing exercising it.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
939
Reaction score
96
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Re: Supreme Court Narrows Miranda Rights, Keeps Michigan Convict in Prison

He did not actually confess. He got caught with a "trick" question:



First point: I don't feel bad for the guy at all. He is almost 100 % certainly guilty. The issue to me is not whether justice is served in his particular case, but whether the ruling itself is right. Short answer...I am torn, I can see both sides. You are told anything you say can be used against you, but as the little of the dissent mentioned in the article says, having to speak to say you wish to remain silent is counter intuitive.
He wasn't tricked. He was asked if he prayed about killing the boy and he said yes. That isn't a trick.
 
Top Bottom