Vatterott OKC Paralegal Studies

We don't teach you what to think. We teach you HOW to think.

Now Being Heard: Your Fifth Amendment Right to Silence

Now Being Heard: Your Fifth Amendment Right to Silence

Imagine this:

You face the allegation of a horrific crime.  You are arrested.  You immediately invoke your Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent.  The State uses the fact that you would not answer questions during an interrogation against you in your trial.  You are found guilty partly  based on that fact.

Should you face a legal consequence for relying on one of your core rights?  That is the question that SCOTUS will take up today at 11:00 AM EST.

The year before the court ruled on Miranda, a decision was issued in Griffin v. California.  The court ruled that the Fifth Amendment doesn’t allow for the Prosecution to comment to the jury during trial about the defendant’s use of the Fifth Amendment by not testifying at trial.

In 1976, the court further refined its opinion in Doyle v. Ohio.  Prosecution may not comment on the defendant’s decision to enact the right to remain silent after the Miranda Rights are given by law enforcement.

In this particular case, Salinas would not answer the question of what the ballistics tests would show after his arrest.  He did not take the stand.  The first trial resulted in a mistrial because the jury couldn’t decide on a verdict.  He was tried again (not double jeopardy because there was a mistrial – not a decision in whether or not he was guilty).  The State used the exact same evidence.  The second jury convicted Salinas and sentenced him to 20 years.  His right to silence appeal failed in the Texas court system.  His attorneys then appealed to SCOTUS on certiorari last August.  Justices are asked to clarify whether and under what circumstances the Fifth Amendment applied to someone who hasn’t been informed of the Miranda Rights.

Visit the link to read about the briefs and analysis.

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