From Miranda v. The United States:
“...The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent her or him.”
Hence, the thousands of police movie and TV show scenes with the policeman reading from a little card to a suspect.
Let me repeat part of the talismanic sentence. “[H]e or she has the right to remain silent….” As of today, not quite. The Supreme Court ruled today that a suspect having been told his or her rights can’t rely on them until they verbally invoke them. Think about that one. The police office tells you don’t have to talk but you now can’t invoke your right not to talk unless you talk.
The Defendant in today’s case was interrogated for three hours, following him being read his rights, while he remained silent, occasionally responding to a question (nothing that incriminated him) until he slipped up and gave an incriminating answer to a question.
This is wrong on a number of levels. There’s obviously the fact that it throws Miranda and its following cases in the gutter. But, it also completely reverses centuries of law on waiver and consent. You have rights until you affirmatively waive them or consent to something that contravenes your rights. Silence isn’t waiver nor is it consent. Except now it is.
I know too much legalistic jargon; but, this just pisses me off.