In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that a potential defendant’s silence can be used against him if he is being interviewed by police but is not arrested (and read his Miranda rights) and has not verbally invoked the protection of the Fifth Amendment.
So now we don’t really have a ‘right to remain silent’ unless we specifically mention the 5th Amendment?
The Court said Salinas simply remained silent and did not “formally” invoke any constitutional right, so prosecutors could offer commentary to the jury. What’s most disturbing about the ruling is its discussion of “burdens.” The plurality put the onus on the individual, not the government. That is the profound error in the decision. As the dissenters noted, in the circumstances of the case, it was evident what Salinas was doing. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has complicated the law for persons who are the most vulnerable–persons who lack education, persons who do not speak English very well, persons who may suffer from mental problems, and persons who may be under the influence of alcohol. This is a bad day for the Bill of Rights.
I guess I don’t really have a 2nd Amendment right to own firearms unless I specifically say so then. I guess the same goes for unreasonable search and seizure, the right to a fair trial, and the rest of the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights really aren’t rights at all. They are privileges reserved only for the well-informed, and even then, only when the government deems them to not be a hindrance.