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Thread: SCOTUS rules on Miranda case

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Just saw this, haven't read anything yet...

    TFred

    Text of the opinion

    Analysis: Tilting Miranda toward the police
    Berghuis v. Thompkins, Opinion recap


    Lyle Denniston | Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 9:42 am

    Analysis

    More than four decades after the Supreme Court ordered police to warn suspects about their rights before questioning them, the actual day-to-day practice has not turned out to be a simple ritual under clear ground rules. Encounters in interrogation rooms still and often are a test of wills, with detectives trying to get answers and suspects trying to avoid talking themselves into deeper trouble. As a result, the Court often has had to reinterpret its 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona. It did so again on Tuesday, and this time the result decisively tilted the warnings procedure toward the police.

    By a 5-4 vote, the Court for the first time made two things clear about Miranda rights: first, if a suspect does not want to talk to police — that is, to invoke a right to silence — he must say so, with a clear statement because it is not enough to sit silently or to remain uncooperative, even through a long session; and, second, if the suspect finally answers a suggestive question with a one-word response that amounts to a confession, that, by itself, will be understood as a waiver of the right to silence and the statement can be used as evidence. Police need not obtain an explicit waiver of that right. The net practical effect is likely to be that police, in the face of a suspect’s continued silence after being given Miranda warnings, can continue to question him, even for a couple of hours, in hopes eventually of getting him to confess.

    Those two declarations emerged in Berghuis v. Thompkins (08-1470), a Michigan drive-by shooting case. Van Chester Thompkins, Jr., of Southfield, Mich., was convicted of murder, assault, and several firearm charges, and is serving life in prison without parole. On Tuesday, the Court ruled that his Miranda rights had not been violated, and thus reaffirmed his conviction and sentence. (In a separate part of the ruling, the Court also rejected a claim that his defense lawyer was ineffective in failing to seek a jury instruction to limit the damaging testimony of another man involved in the crime.)

    Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, joined by the Court’s four most conservative members, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a strongly-worded dissent, accusing the majority of deciding the case more sweepingly than it needed to do and of carrying out “a substantial retreat from the protection” given by the Miranda decision.


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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I read through the opinion, and skimmed the dissent... This case was decided along the clear ideological lines that divide the current court.

    Sotomayor's dissent was concluded with:

    Today’s decision turns Miranda upside down. Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent—which, counterintuitively, requires them to speak. 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.
    Or hey.... they could just not speak... A literal interpretation of "the right to remain silent!" What a concept.

    As is the case with most liberals, her opinion seems to be rooted in some sort of a fantasy-land. When you boil down all the facts and the 46 pages of both the opinion and the dissent, what you find is that the accused was asked and then answered a simple question. Nobody tortured the guy, or coerced him, he answered a simple question. The dissent basically would require accused criminals to be free from the consequences of their voluntary confessions unless they jumped through a bunch of hoops to certify that they were indeed confessing.

    I honestly sometimes wonder how such faulty logic and lack of coherent reasoning ability permits these people to function in society.

    TFred


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    "In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor said the majority had created a kind of paradox. “A suspect who wishes to guard his right to remain silent against such a finding of ‘waiver,’ ” she wrote, “must, counterintuitively, speak.”



    To me, this says that in order to invoke/use a right, you must say so. I thought that silence meant assent?

    If Miranda'd , after they say "Do you understand these rights?" all you should need to do is shut up...but no longer.

    Now you need to say something along the lines of "I invoke my right to be silent without my attorney present."

    I thought rights were 24/7 kinds of things.

    Thoughts?

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Contrarian wrote:
    "In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor said the majority had created a kind of paradox. “A suspect who wishes to guard his right to remain silent against such a finding of ‘waiver,’ ” she wrote, “must, counterintuitively, speak.”



    To me, this says that in order to invoke/use a right, you must say so. I thought that silence meant assent?

    If Miranda'd , after they say "Do you understand these rights?" all you should need to do is shut up...but no longer.

    Now you need to say something along the lines of "I invoke my right to be silent without my attorney present."

    I thought rights were 24/7 kinds of things.

    Thoughts?
    Or.. you can just not talk.

    The whole point of the dissent is stupid. Are they trying to say that if you assert, claim, sign an affidavit, swear before witnesses, etc, etc, etc, that you are claiming your right to remain silent, that you can then immediately confess and it can't be used against you?

    If you want to remain silent, then remain silent. How hard can this possibly be?

    TFred

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    edited due to lack of investigation and preparation on my part
    AUDE VIDE TACE

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    Seems to me that there are two ways to invoke your right to remain silent.

    1. Just shut up and endure questioning until you wear the police down and they give up.

    2. Tell them that you intend to remain silent and/or you will not answer any questions without an attorney present. At which point they HAVE to stop questioning.

    Option one seems to be an awful lot of unnecessarytrouble when a simple statement can end the questioning and put legal sanctions on law enforcement.

    The right to remain silent does not require a person to be mute. It simply allows you not to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. If a LEO asks if you want a drink of water and you answer "yes or no" you haven't waived your rights. If you remain mute for five hours and then confess to a crime then you have waived your rights at that point. If LEOs refused the man access to legal counsel that would be one thing but if legal counsel is never requested are they required to read his mind?

    If a person does not assert their rights in this situation at what point are LEOs supposed to ASSUME he is invoking his rights? Where in theMiranda ruling does it say that once Iinvoke my"right to remain silent" (explicitly or by default),I cannot relinquish the right in the future by speaking at any point in the future? In other words, invoking your "right to remain silent" does not invalidate "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law," if you suddenly decide to speak.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    JT wrote:
    Seems to me that there are two ways to invoke your right to remain silent.

    1. Just shut up and endure questioning until you wear the police down and they give up.

    2. Tell them that you intend to remain silent and/or you will not answer any questions without an attorney present. At which point they HAVE to stop questioning.

    Option one seems to be an awful lot of unnecessarytrouble when a simple statement can end the questioning and put legal sanctions on law enforcement.

    The right to remain silent does not require a person to be mute. It simply allows you not to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. If a LEO asks if you want a drink of water and you answer "yes or no" you haven't waived your rights. If you remain mute for five hours and then confess to a crime then you have waived your rights at that point. If LEOs refused the man access to legal counsel that would be one thing but if legal counsel is never requested are they required to read his mind?

    If a person does not assert their rights in this situation at what point are LEOs supposed to ASSUME he is invoking his rights? Where in theMiranda ruling does it say that once Iinvoke my"right to remain silent" (explicitly or by default),I cannot relinquish the right in the future by speaking at any point in the future? In other words, invoking your "right to remain silent" does not invalidate "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law," if you suddenly decide to speak.
    Exactly... Sotomayor's dissent seems to plead for a situation where if a person says "I choose to remain silent according to my 5th Amendment right to do so, and by the way I killed the guy!" that confession would be inadmissible.

    Insane.

    TFred

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    Can't wait for her tap dance when she explains the second amendment isn't a
    24/7 right, only when the overlords allow it when expressly authorized in writing
    by the arresting officer can you have 2A rights.

    I still can't figure out how not saying something amounts to a confession in her small mind.
    Could lead to catch 22, if you goof and exercise your right to remain silent, but forgot
    to ask for a lawyer, you would need to waive them to get your council.

    But how are you to exercise your right to remain silent, and still exercise your right to
    curse cops that we were just granted?

    Wouldn't this violate the Americans with Disabilities statutes? How can someone
    with a brain but is mute exercise the right when they can't speak? Wouldn't
    the evil cops claim by rubbing the wrists to return circulation from the cuffs they were
    talking and therefor were fair game to "abuse"? Isn't this just Arizona laws on steroids?

    It would make more sense to just require the interrogator to show the suspect
    the 'Don't talk to police" videos before questioning. If after watching that they
    still want to sing like a canary, they should be locked up in a nut house till
    they are convicted.


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    I have not read the case, but the summary I heard said the case was of a man who spoke, went silent, and spoke again, never having said that he was invoking his right not to incriminate himself (not to remain silent!).

    Are the dissenters really saying that any period of silence constitutes the invocation of the "right to remain silent"??? Absurd.

    As stated before, there are two ways to invoke the right.

    1. Say nothing.

    2. State that you will say nothing, and then say nothing more.

    The disadvantage of #1 is that the cops will continue to try to wear you down. The second, if accompanied by a request for a lawyer, should stop the questioning entirely.

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    By a 5-4 vote, the Court for the first time made two things clear about Miranda rights: first, if a suspect does not want to talk to police — that is, to invoke a right to silence — he must say so, with a clear statement because it is not enough to sit silently or to remain uncooperative, even through a long session; and, second, if the suspect finally answers a suggestive question with a one-word response that amounts to a confession, that, by itself, will be understood as a waiver of the right to silence and the statement can be used as evidence.

    You can't invoke your right to remain silent by...remaining silent. Sotomayor was pointing out the asurdity of this.

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    beebobby wrote:
    By a 5-4 vote, the Court for the first time made two things clear about Miranda rights: first, if a suspect does not want to talk to police — that is, to invoke a right to silence — he must say so, with a clear statement because it is not enough to sit silently or to remain uncooperative, even through a long session; and, second, if the suspect finally answers a suggestive question with a one-word response that amounts to a confession, that, by itself, will be understood as a waiver of the right to silence and the statement can be used as evidence.

    You can't invoke your right to remain silent by...remaining silent. Sotomayor was pointing out the asurdity of this.
    Of course you can invoke your right not to self-incriminate (not to remain silent!) by remaining silent. If you say nothing, they can use nothing.

    Of course, the instant you say something incriminating, not having told the cops to go away until your lawyer is present, you de facto give up the right!

    The problem here is that, if you remain absolutely silent, the police are allowed to continue to question you. To stop the questioning, you have to open your mouth long enough to ask for your lawyer. As soon as you do that, the questioning must stop. What on Earth is wrong with that???

    Everyone still has the absolute right not to self-incriminate. That has not changed. The court has simply affirmed that cops are allowed to use common sense and that defendants also have the right to be idiots.

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    I don't see what Sotomayor's problem with this decision is. It's just following precedent.

    The SCOTUS has ruled in the past that a suspect's request for an attorney must be unambiguous1. The statement, "Maybe I should talk to a lawyer" was found to be an ambiguous statement. A suspect must clearly request a attorney. When a suspect later said, "I think I want a lawyer before I say anything else", questioning stopped as it was a clear request for an attorney.

    This case follows that same principle. For all the officers know, the suspect could just have been being difficult and refusing to cooperate. Requiring a suspect to make a statement invoking their Miranda rights is not forcing them to give up their "right to remain silent." There is no such thing as a "right to remain silent." The right is to be free from self incrimination. The "right to remain silent" is really a right to remain silent when asked to incriminate yourself. Requireing a suspect to make a statement invoking their "right to remain silent" is not forcing a suspect to give up their silence. This silence is limited to only self incriminating statements. The suspect is simply being required to inform the police that they are invoking their right if they want questioning to stop. If they wish to wait until the police give up, they are still free to do so. The suspect is only required to speak if that want the police to stop questioning them.


    1. Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452 (1994)

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

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    beebobby wrote:
    You can't invoke your right to remain silent by...remaining silent. Sotomayor was pointing out the asurdity of this.
    As Ipointed before:

    Where in theMiranda ruling does it say that once Iinvoke my"right to remain silent" (explicitly or by default),I cannot relinquish the right in the future by speaking at any point in the future? In other words, invoking your "right to remain silent" does not invalidate "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law," if you suddenly decide to speak."

    You can invoke your right to remain silent by keeping your mouth shut as long as you keep your mouth shut. The man in question in this case wasn't coerced. Heopened his mouth and answered a question. He could have stopped questioning by telling them he wouldn't answer questions and that he wanted an attorney present during questioning. You can invoke your right to remain silent in writing and then relinquish it by talking of your own free will. The rightprotects against self-incrimination. You don't have to incriminate yourself. If you choose to risk self-incrimination by answering questions you have that right too.

    Based on the dissenting opinion, what period of mute silence is required before the police have to stop asking questions and the right to remain silent is inviolate? At what point does this right to remain silent render inadmissable any thing you say after this magical period of silence? This case should have never made the SCOTUS.

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    JT, you raise an interesting point.

    If Sotomayor had her way, a period of silence (How long? I don't know. Maybe the SCOTUS could tell us.) would result in the "right to silence" being invoked. Once that right was invoked, nothing the defendant later says could be used, making the invocation permanent. The invocation is irrevocable. (How's that for irony?)

    Sotomayor's view would actually limit rights! Of course most infantilization does restrict rights. Defendants are too danged stupid to verbally claim their right not to self-incriminate, so they need a SCOTUS ruling to protect them. Unfortunately, protection, by nature, restricts. In this case, it restricts their ability to revoke what has been invoked.

    The natural way to invoke the right not to self-incriminate and the right to counsel would be to say, "I will tell you nothing. I want my lawyer." Under that standard, the invocation could be revoked by saying, "My lawyer has advised me to say the following," or, "I am ready to talk now. I don't want a lawyer."

    At the root of Sotomayor's confusion lies the misnomer "the right to remain silent." The right is the right not to self-incriminate. Of course, defendants are too stupid to understand that, so the phrase had to be dumbed down to a "right to remain silent.

    Replace "right to remain silent" with "right not to self-incriminate" in Sotomayor's dissent and you see the absurdity of what she is saying, not of the ruling, which now should make absolute sense.

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    eye95 wrote:
    If Sotomayor had her way, a period of silence (How long? I don't know. Maybe the SCOTUS could tell us.) would result in the "right to silence" being invoked. Once that right was invoked, nothing the defendant later says could be used, making the invocation permanent. The invocation is irrevocable. (How's that for irony?)
    Yeah, that's one of the amazing things about the dissent. It doesn't take into account any common sense or even established law. Even if I formally invoke my right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning any thing I say during that questioning can still be used against me in a court of law. If the attorney advises me to answer a question and the answer to that question is self incriminating it can be used in court.Miranda providesno protection from stupidity or mistakeson the part of myself or my counsel.

    Sotomayor, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer don't strike me as having thought this through, Seems like they just came up with a dissent based on ideology. The logic is so strained it's as if they decided they had to come up with something because they are the liberal wing of the court.

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    JT wrote:
    Sotomayor, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer don't strike me as having thought this through, Seems like they just came up with a dissent based on ideology. The logic is so strained it's as if they decided they had to come up with something because they are the liberal wing of the court.
    I cannot even begin to imagine the havoc that will be foisted upon this country's justice system if Obama can somehow manage to appoint a 5th progressive justice to the court.

    We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day.

    TFred

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    TFred wrote:
    We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day.
    Agreed.

    What is amazing to me is thepremise on which this case was disputed. You would have thought that the defense would have been some thing along the lines of:

    "My client wasverytired after enduring three hours of questioning and the police began asking leading questions designed to coerce him into incriminating himself. He misunderstood the question as it was posed to him and thought the LEO was asking if he were praying. Since my client was in a difficult situation he was silently praying at the time and his answer was mis-construed by police as an admission of guilt."

    Instead the defense is:

    "My client was largely unresponsive during questioning and never requested an attorney be present during questioning. Police violated his rights because they failed to stop asking questions after an unspecified time thereby making his admission of guilt inadmissable in court."

    I'm not a lawyer so maybe I don't understand some of the "finer" points of law but I still can't believe this case made it all the way to the SCOTUS or that we have 4 justices that want to let they guy walk.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    You know... (that's my code word for "speculation is about to commence")

    The Supreme Court is supposed to be above the fray of political ideology. We all know that is hogwash.

    I wonder if in these cases that come out as close 5-4 decisions, that some of the time at least, these numbers are not necessarily as close as they seem.

    We all know that in Congress (and even in our Virginia legislature), close votes are often not really a true representation of the vote. The leadership "allows" the representatives in certain districts to make "safer" votes as long as they have the numbers required to pass. I wonder if the same thing sometimes happens here. If the progressives actually did have a majority, I wonder if the outcome of this case and others like it might not still be the same. In this particular case, for example, it would take a lot more guts to vote in favor of the dissenting opinion, realizing the horrible ramifications it would have, if there were actually enough votes to make it the majority opinion. It's a perfectly "safe" vote, when there are only 4.

    Unfortunately, as long as those involved in the process keep their mouths shut, we will never know. Perhaps this is the true reason Supreme Court justices are appointed for life... so that they don't ever retire and write revealing memoirs!

    (End of speculation, for now.)

    TFred


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    TFred wrote:
    We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day.

    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    Tawnos wrote:
    TFred wrote:
    We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day.
    Thanks. It's always extra special to be personally insulted by a fellow OC member.

    TFred

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    Tawnos wrote:
    TFred wrote:
    We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day.
    This post is despicable. Way to ensure that large numbers of members completely lose respect for your posting judgment.

    Have a nice life.

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    eye95 wrote:
    Tawnos wrote:
    TFred wrote:
    We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day.
    This post is despicable. Way to ensure that large numbers of members completely lose respect for your posting judgment.

    Have a nice life.

    I don't know the intent of the post of this picture but I do have an opinion on it. I Saw Jerry Clower in person several times and this is my favorite story that he would tell. It relates directly to this and people need to pay attention to his message instead of complaining about the messenger,

    http://wuapinmon.blogspot.com/2005/0...-words-of.html

    I couldn't find a youtube version of Jerry actually telling it so you will have to read this writer's version of it.


    Or as Levi Stubbs put in on The Four Tops Live album, "If ever you want your prayers answered, get up off your knees and do something about them".

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    eye95 wrote:
    This post is despicable. Way to ensure that large numbers of members completely lose respect for your posting judgment.

    Have a nice life.
    Because you disagree with it? What is the effect of prayer? "God's will" is the answer most commonly given. Does it alter the outcome in any measurable way? No. Hence, praying does nothing, but I'm sure it makes you feel good.

    If you want to make a difference, try writing to your political elect, and ensure those of like mind do the same. Explain why you think a particular court nominee is troubling, and the way you want the representative to vote. Should the person continue to act against the country's interest, vote against, campaign against, or help campaigning against the person who does not represent your views.

    Or, you know, talk to the invisible sky wizard and get angry that someone says that you're talking to yourself.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    TFred's comment was:

    "We need to be praying hard for the health and safety of these 5 sensible judges every day."

    How is...

    "...writing to your political elect, and ensure those of like mind do the same. Explain why you think a particular court nominee is troubling, and the way you want the representative to vote. Should the person continue to act against the country's interest, vote against, campaign against, or help campaigning against the person who does not represent your views."

    ...going to affect the health and safety of 5 justices on the supreme court?

    Way to go Tawnos. You disregard the content of the thread and hijack it so you can express your disdain for another's personalbeliefs expressed in an incidental comment. Intolerant much?

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    God how my brain cells must be dying off, how could I not have
    connected the dots till just now.
    Miranda had to be overturned in support of Arizona who created it.
    Now the illegals need to learn english to invoke their rights.
    This was all just to get back at the WH for badmouthing logic and
    adherence to the constitution at the goof talking address.
    No wonder the 4 court jesters are so upset.:P


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