In a stunning decision, the Supreme Court today made major changes to Miranda rights: You have to request the right to remain silent. It will no longer be afforded to you.
Any confessions you make in the midst of an arrest are now admissable until the moment you say “I wish to remain silent.”
From the Associated Press:
A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are the first of the Miranda rights warnings, which police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But the justices said in a 5-4 decision that suspects must tell police they are going to remain silent to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.
The ruling comes in a case where a suspect, Van Chester Thompkins, remained mostly silent for a three-hour police interrogation before implicating himself in a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield, Mich. He appealed his conviction, saying that he invoked his Miranda right to remain silent by remaining silent.
But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the decision for the court’s conservatives, said that wasn’t enough.
“Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk to police,” Kennedy said. “Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his ‘right to cut off questioning.’ Here he did neither, so he did not invoke his right to remain silent.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s newest member, wrote a strongly worded dissent for the court’s liberals, saying the majority’s decision “turns Miranda upside down.”
“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which counterintuitively, requires them to speak,” she said. “At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded.”
It seems to me the conservatives on the Supreme Court are going to continue to chip away at civil liberties. I was all about Obama nominating centrist judges but enough is enough. Time to put some liberals on the court for no other reason than to protect us from our own government. Funny how the philosophy of limited government seems to have no problem giving government more and more lee-way with how they’re allowed to treat our citizens. Sotomayor’s ruling makes the most legal sense, but when did that ever matter to a conservative?