The Supreme Court Erodes The Miranda Rule
Criminal defense attorneys and civil rights lawyers across the Country are shocked at the Court’s recent decision in Berghuis v. Thompkins. In this case, the defendant was read his Miranda rights and remained silent for three hours. Even though he was obviously remaining silent, the police continued to interrogate him and after three hours of interrogation, he finally cracked.
Inexplicably, the Court held that there was no Miranda violation because the Court in a twisted and strained logic held that remaining silent is not a sufficient exercise of the right to remain silent, so as to trigger the right to end police interrogation. The Court held that If the accused makes an “ambiguous or equivocal” statement or no statement, the police are not required to end the interrogation.
So under the new rule, a criminal defendant to come under the protection of the Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination must explicitly state that they are exercising their right to remain silent otherwise, the police are free to continue their interrogation. This was a five to four split decision and is further evidence of the trend in which right wing Courts are intentionally stripping the United States Constitution of its protections. More and more, the Republicans have packed the Courts with political hacks who bend over backwards to undermine the Constitutional protections which our founding fathers enacted for us.
New York criminal defense lawyers should continue to look to the New York Constitution which has traditionally provided greater protection than the Federal Constitution.