Saturday, June 5, 2010

Remaining Silent

Well, the U.S. Supreme Court did it again. In the case of BERGHUIS v. THOMPKINS, they held that a person can't invoke his right against self-incrimination, the famous "right to remain silent," by, in fact, remaining silent.

In this case, a defendant was interrogated for several hours, during which time he said nothing. He literally remained silent, just as the Miranda warnings he was read told him he could. As the interrogators were leaving the room, one of them asked if he believed in god, and when he said 'yes' asked him if he would pray for god's forgiveness. It was disputed whether the suspect replied, but the interrogator testified that he said 'yes' and that was deemed to be an admission of guilt.

In addition to the nonsensical ruling on the right to remain silent, I find it offensive that police interrogators are permitted to prey on a suspect's religious beliefs in order to psychologically put the suspect in a frame of mind to confess. Such confessions are as coerced, in my opinion, as those obtained by beating the confession out of the suspect.

This one, they got wrong.


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