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Not Your Parents’ Miranda!

Posted by Brian Tillman on 9 June 2010

As of June 1st, you may no longer assert your right to be silent by merely doing just that, remaining silent.  Sound confusing?  Not to the Supreme Court of the United States.  According to a recent decision, a suspect in a criminal case must unambiguously communicate to their questioner that they intend to invoke their right not to cooperate.  Berghuis v. Thompkins (#08-1470) .  The decision means that once a suspect is in custody, officers must still issue Miranda warnings and be convinced that the subject understands them.  However, once officers begin asking questions a person must explicitly tell the officers that he wants to remain silent.  Otherwise, any response the person makes is deemed potentially admissible.