Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent Under Attack
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains protections against self-incrimination, meaning that a person cannot be compelled to testify against his or herself in a criminal case. Pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona, a suspect who is in custody must be apprised of his or her Fifth Amendment rights. The Court decided that these rights are so essential, that in order to protect them, law enforcement must explain them to a suspect clearly. Otherwise, statements made in response to law enforcement interrogation are inadmissible.
An individual’s Miranda rights have been chipped away many times since the decision was rendered, for example;
- Where the suspect is in jail, but unaware the interrogator is a police officer
- Where the police ask a suspect for physical evidence
- When there are exigent circumstances or in the interest of public safety
- During routine booking questions
However, the new threat to Miranda rights is currently being decided by the Supreme Court in Salinas v. Texas. In Salinas, the Defendant’s invocation of his right to remain silent, after already answering numerous questions asked by an officer, was used by the prosecutor to demonstrate evidence of his guilt at trial.
This case further demonstrates that no questions should be answered before you have an attorney present. Do not delay in invoking your constitutional right to remain silent. Make it clear that you are requesting an attorney. Once you make that statement, do not break your silence.
If you have been accused of any crime, contact an Ohio attorney who is experienced with Fifth Amendment violations and can strongly defend your constitutional rights.