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1 EiMitch  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 3:02:37pm

He was being asked a potentially self-incriminating question without first being told his Miranda rights, and that was used against him? He was supposedly “free to leave” and was asked a gotcha question that caught him off guard, and his silence was used as proof of guilt when it could just as easily have been shock and disbelief?

And SCotUS upheld this cheap-shot bulls***?

The system is broken. Completely. F***ing. Broken.

2 Locker  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 3:18:27pm

He wasn’t under arrest. He didn’t have to go to the police office. He didn’t have to answer questions. He didn’t “remain silent” he clammed up when he didn’t want to answer a question.

This article also seems framed to indicate that his silence is THE reason he was convicted. If you have a voluntary conversation with a cop and the cop is called to the stand, what is he supposed to say?

“I asked him his name, he answered Roy”
“I asked if he owned any guns, he answered “Yes, a shotgun”
“I asked him if his shotgun would match the crime scene shells… sorry can’t tell you what happened after that because it would violate his right..”

How the fuck does that make any sense? It’s a freaking witness statement, the jury decides what means what.

Also from the article:

How can an individual who is not a lawyer know that these particular words are legally magic?”

Yea that describes practically the entire code of laws in this country.

3 sauceruney  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 3:24:41pm

re: #2 Locker

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” or some other lawyer-speak for “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

4 FemNaziBitch  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 4:56:29pm

Like taking the 5th ever works in a defendants favor either?

I always thought it was best to stay silent until one’s attorney is present.

5 EiMitch  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 5:39:30pm

re: #2 Locker

He wasn’t under arrest. He didn’t have to go to the police office. He didn’t have to answer questions.

That is not an excuse. Thats the damn problem. He was asked a question that was obviously self-incriminating in nature, with no attorney present, nor any reasonable expectation that he might need one. An innocent man can be shocked and surprised by this question too.

Also, just because someone didn’t murder someone else with his shotgun, that doesn’t mean he knows whether a third party used it.

Not to mention that matching a shell to a weapon is much more of an art than a science. Those CSI tv shows aren’t realistic.

Police and prosecutors aren’t interested in “the truth.” They only care respectively about making arrests asap and convicting as many cases as possible. They’re like a business in that efficiency is the name of the game. “The truth” is not their problem.

It’s a freaking witness statement, the jury decides what means what.

Juries are so easy to sway, its ridiculous. And that is not just my opinion. Its statically studied and documented.

cracked.com

That article focused on legal defense tricks. But this next one shows how “the good guys” are full of BS too.

cracked.com

(and please don’t judge me for linking to Cracked both times. Its sorta my thing)

re: #4 FemNaziBitch

Like taking the 5th ever works in a defendants favor either?

Oh it does help. It most certainly does.

I always thought it was best to stay silent until one’s attorney is present.

He wasn’t under arrest, and therefore didn’t know he needed one. Thats more or less the point.

6 Locker  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 6:48:02pm

re: #5 EiMitch

Do you have any belief in personal responsibility?

The point is that he didn’t have to go. The point is that he was perfectly free to do whatever he wanted. Ignore the request, ,refuse to answer questions, bring a lawyer, answer anything they wanted, etc.

What is your problem with a police officer asking a question that you consider to be self-incriminating? Is it self-incriminating if the person didnt’ do anything? Is “Have you had anything to drink tonight sir?” a self-incriminating question? Should I consult my lawyer before I answer?

All of your hypothetical are not relevant. You don’t know or speak for any and or all prosecutors or police officers. Speaking for the police officers in my family I can kindly tell you to “fuck off” for claiming they aren’t interested in the truth.

If you have a voluntary conversation with a police officer the conversation is admissible. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. It doesn’t matter how many times you linked to cracked. It’s the law and the high court just validated it.

7 steve_davis  Thu, Jun 20, 2013 7:33:36pm

re: #6 Locker

Yes, I’ll admit I’m torn on this one. I absolutely know that the legal system, through numerous cases, has established that the police are free to lie (“In this bag, we’ve got hair from the scene that matches you!”/ “We’ve got your fingerprints on the murder weapon!”) during interrogations, but it’s also true that if the police asked me to wander in for something, and I did not imagine I was a suspect, I might well answer what I assumed were innocent questions. This isn’t like getting pulled over for speeding, which is technically an arrest. And I agree with the general sense that this decision is probably going to do far more harm than good, because I can promise you if I’m ever “requested” by the police to come down for anything, it will be with a lawyer, and unless I’m arrested, the police will be welcome to fuck off. In fact, I doubt that I would say anything in an interview, even with a lawyer present. The thing law enforcement doesn’t like to mention is that most crimes are solved based on self-incriminating statements. Just keep your mouth shut and your chances of not going to jail go up astronomically. And no, you don’t have to positively assert your fifth-amendment rights. Just keep your mouth shut, period.

8 Romantic Heretic  Fri, Jun 21, 2013 4:49:44am

Next, SCOTUS will allow this conversation with the police.

Police officer: Not going to talk, are you?

Person: Not without my lawyer present.

Police officer: Then you’ll do the next best thing.

Person: What’s that?

Police officer: You’ll scream.

9 EiMitch  Fri, Jun 21, 2013 8:49:26am

re: #6 Locker

What is your problem with a police officer asking a question that you consider to be self-incriminating? Is it self-incriminating if the person didnt’ do anything?

“Would the shells fired match your shotgun?” is obviously self-incriminating by intent. There is no way to ask such a thing without implying they’re a suspect. That can throw anyone for a loop. You think that stunned silence in response to an unexpected question proves guilt? What bulls***! A guilty person is more likely to expect such a question and have an answer prepared.

Speaking for the police officers in my family I can kindly tell you to “fuck off” for claiming they aren’t interested in the truth.

You think a personal bias on your behalf makes you more objective about this? Really? Seriously?

You should have a voluntary conversation sometime, but with the Innocence Project instead. Find out for yourself how honest and objective most cops are from someone who isn’t a cop but has much experience with the system. Learn how easily police can narrow in on the wrong suspect, (spoiler alert: we all do this all the time, police or not) rationalize away evidence to the contrary, (spoiler: again, we all do this) or often times deliberately abuse their authority.

10 thecommodore  Fri, Jun 21, 2013 11:43:51am

re: #2 Locker

He wasn’t under arrest. He didn’t have to go to the police office. He didn’t have to answer questions. He didn’t “remain silent” he clammed up when he didn’t want to answer a question.

That’s the problem here. An astoundingly high number of Americans don’t realize the rights they have when dealing with police, even in what are seemingly minor situations (ie getting pulled over for speeding), and how very often in an effort to be helpful and honest with the police, they can talk themselves into a ride downtown. And police are under no obligation to inform someone that they don’t have to come in for questioning.

re: #7 steve_davis

The thing law enforcement doesn’t like to mention is that most crimes are solved based on self-incriminating statements. Just keep your mouth shut and your chances of not going to jail go up astronomically. And no, you don’t have to positively assert your fifth-amendment rights. Just keep your mouth shut, period.

Bingo!

This whole situation is why this simple rule is golden when dealing with police - Don’t talk to them. Just don’t do it. Ever:

Don’t Talk to Cops, Part 1, Part 2.

Part 2 is a cop explaining why talking to cops is almost always a bad idea.

11 JamesWI  Fri, Jun 21, 2013 12:34:17pm

re: #6 Locker

Except the conversation isn’t really “voluntary” if they can use your refusal to participate in the conversation against you.

The rule, generally, is that the police/prosecution can’t use your silence against you if it came in a “custodial interrogation.” The basic definition of “custody” in this case is whether the person feels free to leave.

I don’t see how you can say that someone will feel free to leave, if the fact that they left instead of answering the question can be used as evidence of their guilt. The fact that the person came in to the station voluntarily doesn’t change the fact that he won’t feel free to leave under these circumstances.

12 JamesWI  Fri, Jun 21, 2013 12:56:34pm

And as someone who is currently in the middle of studying for the bar, I can say that this ruling runs completely counter to the previous rules. The Court basically took part of a completely different rule covering completely different circumstances (That a person has to specifically invoke their right to silence before the cops have to stop questioning them….that is, someone who simply remains silent can still be questioned but their silence couldn’t be used as evidence against them (until Monday)) and used it to essentially destroy a well-established rule (A defendant’s silence in the face of police questioning is inadmissible in about 99% of possible situations).

It’s the sort of case that people taking the bar in the next year or two will have to put out of their minds, because the rule won’t be included in the exam for at least a few years, and would only serve to confuse anyone if a similar fact pattern turned up in a question. If I face a question with the same facts as the Salinas case, I will answer “inadmissible because the prosecution cannot use the defendant’s silence against him” and I will get an easy point.

13 JamesWI  Fri, Jun 21, 2013 1:02:11pm

re: #12 JamesWI

(A defendant’s silence in the face of police questioning is inadmissible in about 99% of possible situations).

And for those curious, that one situation where it was admissible is when the defendant stays silent throughout questioning and doesn’t take the stand at his trial, and then his lawyer is stupid enough to say something like “He never got a chance to tell his side of the story!”


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