In Texas Case, High Court To Rule on Suspects’ Right to Remain Silent


The Supreme Court will decide a major case on the right to remain silent, testing whether that right exists for someone who has not been arrested but is interviewed by police, and was not given Miranda warnings, when that silence was used to help prove guilt at a trial, says the Grits for Breakfast blog, citing Scotusblog. The court is reviewing a ruling by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that prosecutors may argue that the act of remaining silent in the face of pre-arrest police questioning may “be admitted as substantive evidence of guilt.”

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says that three federal appellate courts and state courts in Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas have held that a defendant's pre-arrest silence may be commented on by prosecutors and used as evidence of guilt at trial. In 1962, the high court disallowed police from discouraging suspects to remain silent because it placed them in a position where exercising a constitutional right would be used at trial to infer guilt.

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