Wednesday, June 02, 2010

PSA: You Have The Right To Remain Silent, As Long As You Speak First.

The always interesting AdamB over at the Daily Kos remind us of today's SCOTUS ruling about Berghuis v. Thompkins. Thompkins had assumed that by refusing to answer most of the questions posed by the police officer who was questioning him about a murder he had affirmed his intent to avail himself of the right to remain silent. However
About 2 hours and 45 minutes into the interrogation, Helgert asked Thompkins, “Do you believe in God?” Thompkins made eye contact with Helgert and said “Yes,” as his eyes “well[ed] up with tears.” Helgert asked, “Do you pray to God?” Thompkins said “Yes.” Helgert asked, “Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?” Thompkins answered “Yes” and looked away. Thompkins refused to make a written confession, and the interrogation ended about 15 minutes later.

Thompkins was subsequently charged with first-degree murder.

I take no firm position on this ruling, as it may have hidden implications that may sway me one way or another. In the meantime you can read all about it at the Daily Kos.

Oh, and... if you get arrested on suspicion of a crime, remember you now need to momentarly suspend your silence in order to tell police officers that you intend to avail yourself of the right to be silent. Huh? That's right.

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