I’ve spent much of the past hour nervously watching the live feed over at SCOTUSblog in hopes that we’d get an opinion on marriage equality today. Alas, no. I’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out if my pending nuptials will come with rights at the federal level.
But it did make me aware of other cases that I would probably have overlooked entirely. Among them was a case out of Texas regarding whether or not silence from a suspect prior to his being read his Miranda rights is admissible at trial.
From the New York Times:
The Supreme Court says prosecutor can use a person’s silence against them in court if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent.
Perhaps it is my lack of legal expertise showing, but this strikes me as just plain nutty.
Suppose I am arrested on suspicion of some heinous crime or another. Erecting a totem pole made out of corpses, let’s say. And let us further suppose that I am aware of the Fifth Amendment and that I cannot be compelled to offer evidence against myself. Moreover, I am fully aware of my good chum Burt’s Rule #1 and similar good advice.
What is the correct response under these circumstances should I be asked “Do you happen to know how that totem pole made out of corpses appeared in your backyard?” by a member of the law enforcement community prior to being read my rights? Silence apparently is no longer a possible option. I suppose I could always say “No,” but I imagine that could lead to other charges in addition to the rather heavy penalties associated with making a totem pole out of people you’ve murdered. Is the Supreme Court saying that suspects have no choice but to lie?
I know there are a great many very smart lawyer types around these parts, and I’d love to hear from them. Is this decision insane, or is it me? If it is not insane, can you please explain why so that a person of small brain such as myself might understand?