Wednesday, June 02, 2010


“Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?”

That's the question that Van Chester Thompkins was asked after 3 hours of questioning in which he remained silent. Thompkins said yes and the statement was used to convict him. The Supreme Court held 5-4 that staying quiet for 3 hours wasn't enough to invoke one's right to remain silent. From the NYTimes:

Criminal suspects seeking to protect their right to remain silent must speak up to invoke it, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, refining the court’s landmark 1966 ruling in Miranda v. Arizona.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that split along familiar ideological lines, did not disturb Miranda’s requirement that suspects be told they have the right to remain silent. But he said courts need not suppress statements made by defendants who received such warnings, did not expressly waive their rights and spoke only after remaining silent through hours of interrogation.
Sonia Sotomayor, in her first major dissent, said the decision “turns Miranda upside down” and “bodes poorly for the fundamental principles that Miranda protects.”
Monday’s decision followed two in February that also narrowed and clarified the scope of the Miranda decision.
One allowed police officers to vary the wording of the warning; the other allowed a second round of questioning of suspects who had invoked their rights so long as two weeks had passed since their release from custody.

At least the cops offered him a mint:

Mr. Thompkins then remained almost entirely silent in the face of three hours of interrogation, though he did say that his chair was hard and that he did not want a peppermint.

While the Supremes are chipping away at Miranda, I see that the 11th reversed a conviction yesterday on a suppression issue. Richard Klugh won the case, United States v. Lance Lall.


Anonymous said...

The law won't protect the accused but rest assured that Hashem will defend Israel.

Rumpole said...

Who WAS in that 5-4 majority? Hmm... Alita, Thomas,
CJ Roberts, Kennedy wrote the opinion. Hmm...who WAS that 5th vote? Couldn't be Ginsberg or Breyer, or Stevens, and Sotomayor voted with the minority which was nice to see. So which justice gave the neo cons their majority? OH I ALMOST FORGOT. The Statist SCALIA!!!

Rumpole said...

David only prints my comments when I make a typo like "Alita" for 'Alito". Oh well.