Right to remain silent


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Shadowpballer
October 11, 2006, 06:16 PM
At my school someone (I bet itís a freshman) left a note on a computer that says that there will be a bombing in school on Thursday. Because of how my school is run, and since I am in several computer classes there is a high chance that I will be questioned. I know when dealing with the officer on campus the best thing to do is to remain silent, or ask for a lawyer. Do I have that right if a teacher or principle questions me, since I know the search and seizure laws are different between school and police.

If it matters I live in Maryland, and go to a public high school

I did not do it, and only learned about it today when an announcement came on. Its just that I know ďI donít have anything to hideĒ is never a good approach with authority.

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MechAg94
October 11, 2006, 06:24 PM
I think that primarily applies only with regard to incriminating yourself. Since (I assume :) ) you are not the one that left the note and don't know who did it, you would not be incriminating yourself and could be compelled to testify. I am not sure about rules on refusing to cooperate with an investigation. I wouldn't discuss rumors/opinions, but I see no reason why you wouldn't tell them the facts you know.
I am not a lawyer and did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express so someone else may know better.

Molon Labe
October 11, 2006, 06:25 PM
I would normally advise someone to remain silent. But in this case I would simply say, "I did not do it, and I have no knowledge of who did it." What more could they ask after that?

Shadowpballer
October 11, 2006, 06:32 PM
I was thinking of doing that, but the ACLU side of my brain says "dont talk"

and no, I did not do it

RNB65
October 11, 2006, 06:34 PM
The "right to remain silent" is part of the Miranda warning that LEO's are required to give before questioning a suspect. It flows directly from the 5th Amendment protection from self-incrimination. If you're being questioned by the police, you always have the right to remain silent and to ask for an attorney. Law Enforcement can't punish you for refusing to answer questions.

School administrators, OTOH, aren't required to give you a Miranda warning and they can punish you for refusing to answer questions. You can refuse to answer their questions, but you'll probably be suspended or possibly expelled for refusing to cooperate.

My advice: If you're innocent, spill your guts.

salvador31c
October 11, 2006, 06:37 PM
if you can stay out of it do so if you know who did and its just a prank dont worrie about it they can always track down which computer it came from and what time it was left if it was a school computer trust me :cool: if they ask you be honest and say what you do or dont know being qiuet will cause them to think you know somthing

shield20
October 11, 2006, 06:53 PM
What are you afraid of by talking? Just 'giving in to the man'? All the crap going on with shootings and such, why would you not want to help investigate a possible problem? What is up with the 'officers and campus' that makes you want to lawyer up?

I don't get it.:confused:

Vairochana
October 11, 2006, 07:08 PM
What is the problem- the police are doing their job, do yours- just answer the questions and tell them what you know or don't know.
Why do you have to turn this into an issue?
There is NO civil liberties question here at all.
if everyone bignotes themselves like this and pretends they are standing up for their rights in this manner the cops will never find the hoaxer or worse the real grubs who aren't just hoaxing.

Zundfolge
October 11, 2006, 07:08 PM
My advice: If you're innocent, spill your guts.

If you've done nothing ... if you know nothing, than you have nothing to say so say nothing.

I wouldn't get in the officer's face with the whole "I know my rights pig!" attitude, but if you don't know anything, you don't know anything.

Thefabulousfink
October 11, 2006, 07:17 PM
I understand not wanting to cooperate with an administrative witch-hunt. I was in high school when Columbine happened. A friend of mine, who was a nice pleasent kid of the Goth persuasion, was pigeon-holed by the administration.

A few month after Columbine my school had a bomb threat and my friend was the first one hauled into the office even though he had nothing to do with it. There wasn't even circumstantial evidence that he was involved, but he was labeled "that trench-coat mafia kid" by the administrators. Several of our teachers even protested that he was not the type of person to do this, but he was still questioned by the Dean of Students and police while at school, had the police visit his home, and he was suspended for 3 days while the investigation was going on.

All this because he wasn't "normal". My advice to you is to say "I was not involved in this and I don't know anyone who was" (assuming that is true). Do not say anything else no matter how frustrated you get, it won't help your cause. If they try to intimidate you simply ask for your parents or a lawyer and them clam up.

School administrators are not the police and have a lot more leeway in these cases. They also can be hard to nail on a civil suit after the fact, so keep you cool and don't try and bait them (it will save you and your parents a lot of hartache).

TX1911fan
October 11, 2006, 07:20 PM
No one can force you to speak, so you always have the right to remain silent. Can you be punished for it? Certainly. If you refuse to cooperate with an investigation, the school can discipline you. Also, if you have information that does not incriminate you, and you do not share it with authorities when asked for any information you might have, you might be charged with obstruction of justice, and possibly even as an accessory after the fact. I agree with the other posters, what is the big deal? Tell them you don't know anything.

Now, if you do know something, and you just don't want to tell them, that is a different matter (see above re: obstruction). Or, alternatively, if you know something, and it could get YOU into trouble, then you probably want to clam up and get a lawyer.

Fink, your story is a classic illustration of why I tell my kids that they are free to express themselves anyway they want, but they must live with the consequences. Want blue hair? Fine. But when no one wants to hire you because of it, don't come crying to me. Kids have to realize there are societal norms, and going against them, while it may seem fun and exciting, has definite consequences. When was the last time the first string quarterback shot up a school? I haven't heard of a case yet. But, in many of the school shootings we see that it is the goth, trenchcoat kids. As a parent, I would definitely expect those kids to receive more scrutiny.

SoCalShooter
October 11, 2006, 07:27 PM
If you know anything about it (factual, no opinions or skeptism) just tell the cops. If you did not do anything wrong then you have nothing to fear, if you think you know some concrete info then you should let them know it.

ArmedBear
October 11, 2006, 07:33 PM
Try this:

Yeah. There was this guy sitting next to me yesterday in the computer lab. I didn't recognize him, which is strange because I'm taking three computer classes and I thought I knew everyone in there.

He was wearing a turban and the web sites he went to were all in Arabic.

I don't know if he had anything to do with it, but I don't have any idea who else would have done it!

4t5
October 11, 2006, 07:40 PM
My advice to you is to say "I was not involved in this and I don't know anyone who was"

+1

Then shut up.

This will likely rile them up, though. They may threaten you. They may try to trick you. I would not say another word. Stand your ground.

Everybody needs to read YOU AND THE POLICE (http://www.javelinpress.com/you_and_the_police.html) by Boston T. Party, especially since we are now all potential terrorists!

LkWinnipesaukee
October 11, 2006, 07:41 PM
"No, I didnt do it, sorry."

AirForceShooter
October 11, 2006, 07:57 PM
I don't know usually works.

AFS

brerrabbit
October 11, 2006, 08:06 PM
I go with the rest of the crowd. Tell police you did nothing, if you know something, tell them. Be polite and respectful. If they want more than that or seem to be fixating on you, tell them the interview is terminated until it can be conducted in the presence of your parents.

You, I am assuming you are a minor, do have the right to be questioned in the presence of your parents in most places.

If there are school officials present during the questioning, and they make you nervous, tell them to leave. The officer is investigating the crime, they are not, all they are doing is providing assistance to the police. They do not have the right to cross examine you while the police are talking to you or to verify your veracity during the interview. Again if they do not leave, terminate the interview until it can be held with your parents present.

The teachers really do not have much power in the way of giving you any grief over this if your parents can afford a lawyer. Once this was reported to the police it became a police matter to investigate, not theirs, if they try questioning you about it, refer them to the police and ask them why they are interfering in police investigation. They can try to flex their muscles against you, but without you having done anything ,,,,

A good articulate lawyer can generally set them straight without even going to court, that is,if your parents can afford one.

The easy route is just to tell the truth, do not give the police any grief, and tell them anything that you know.

Taking the hard route can give you a lot of short term grief, and might put the hairy eyeball of suspicion on you.

Delta608
October 11, 2006, 09:29 PM
At my school someone (I bet itís a freshman) left a note on a computer that says that there will be a bombing in school on Thursday. Because of how my school is run, and since I am in several computer classes there is a high chance that I will be questioned. I know when dealing with the officer on campus the best thing to do is to remain silent, or ask for a lawyer. Do I have that right if a teacher or principle questions me, since I know the search and seizure laws are different between school and police.

If it matters I live in Maryland, and go to a public high school

I did not do it, and only learned about it today when an announcement came on. Its just that I know ďI donít have anything to hideĒ is never a good approach with authority.


Pretty pathetic....what a nice contribution to the society you live in...:banghead:

LkWinnipesaukee
October 11, 2006, 09:37 PM
We had some idiot write a bomb threat in the bathroom. It happens everywhere.

Jim K
October 11, 2006, 09:44 PM
Refusing to cooperate with police under the circumstances is not heroic, it is STUPID! If you do know anything and don't tell, you may be the victim of some nutcase.

The "right to remain silent" applies ONLY if and when you are told you are under arrest. Until then, you have a legal obligation to cooperate with authorities in investigating a crime; if you refuse, you can be charged with obstructing justice or even being an accessory if anything happens.

I don't know what kind of stupid "code" you have in your dumb head. Any sane person who knew in advance of something like Columbine or the Amish school shooting and did nothing is a total scum bag, not some heroic figure opposing "adult oppression" or "police tyranny."

If your teachers have anything to do with putting that nonsense into your head, I hope they wake up quick.

Jim

Coronach
October 11, 2006, 09:56 PM
^^^
What he said.

Dude. It was a bomb threat. You had nothing to do with it. Just tell them you had nothing to do with it. The cop is not looking for you. He is looking for the guy who wrote the note. Help him find the guy who wrote the note by telling him what you know (allegedly nothing) and don't waste his time, the administration's time, your time, and everyone else's time by invoking your "rights" and making you seem like more of a suspect than you are. The fifth amendment gives you the right to not "be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against [your]self". In case you missed this minor fact, you're not a witness against yourself because you didn't commit the crime.

Assuming you're as innocent as you claim, just go to the meeting, get over yourself, and tell the truth. It's not that hard.

Mike

DirtyBrad
October 11, 2006, 10:42 PM
I heard something about this on the radio today, but didn't catch any details.

Maybe I don't get what you're saying, but it sounds like your perspective's a little out of whack, either by trying to put yourself close to something dramatic that you have nothing to do with or in your attitude toward authority.

If it's the first, sorry to burst your bubble, but you're just one of probably hundreds of kids they'll briefly talk to who doesn't know anything.

If it's the second, lighten up. It doesn't make you a communist or sheep to help cops trying to do the right thing. We live in a society. Help out.

f4t9r
October 11, 2006, 10:48 PM
I always have the right to remain silent , I just do not have the ability.

DirtyBrad
October 11, 2006, 10:52 PM
Good stuff, f4t9r

brerrabbit
October 11, 2006, 11:08 PM
Post removed by owner because I was only repeating other peoples arguements over again

Kim
October 11, 2006, 11:32 PM
I remember during the 1970's there was at one time a few bomb threats at my small school. All the kids went and stood on the football field. The police came and went. No dogs, NO SWAT, no anthing really.. They were just pranks by other kids. It was funny. Now we have kids who really would blow up the school. Somehow our culture has changed and not for the better. However I bet in the 1950's a kid would not even pull a prank like this. Sad state of culture we have just kinda slid into and live with. Oh Well. Sigh.

DirtyBrad
October 12, 2006, 12:02 AM
The worst school killing in our history was in 1927, I think. Bath, Michigan. Although, it wasn't a student that did it.

I was in high school in the late 80s/early 90s in Montgomery County, MD, which is where this stuff today occurred, I think. We had a student and an ex-student trash the school, set some fires, and turn all the burners in the science wing on in the hopes that it would blow up the school. Luckily nothing sparked the gas, but there was still more than a half million dollars of damage done from the other stuff.

We probably didn't have a full day of school for a week after because of all the prank follow-ups. They'd herd us all into the auditorium, then send us home.

It was a circus with cops, reporters, firemen, etc for a long time. But nothing was as bad as the "grief counseling" and the occasional dopey girl on the news crying on the school steps and saying the whole thing made her feel "violated".

ilbob
October 12, 2006, 12:07 AM
if you refuse to talk at all, you will be targeted for punishment, regardless of whether you did anything or not, if for no other reason than because bureaucrats are often very petty people. Give them a little power and it goes to their head. Defiance is considered a worse sin than murder by such tyrants.

If you can avoid talking to them and that is your wish, avoid them. The whole thing will blow over in a few days when they move on to the next contrived crisis.

If forced to talk, tell the truth, unless you did it. If you did it, get legal advice. They will probably charge whoever did it with something like making terroristic threats or some such nonsense. Not a good thing to have on one's record, even if it is pretty bogus.

Remember, you know nothing unless you have actual first hand information. Speculation, belief, hearsay, and conjecture are not knowledge.

DirtyBrad
October 12, 2006, 12:18 AM
Accurate description of most teachers, principals, and cops. They definitely get into that line of work for the power. Crazy tyrants.

I'd say if you did it, tell the truth and waive counsel.

Man, can you believe these crazy liberals? You threaten to blow up a school and they charge you with making a terroristic threat. What a bunch of uptight pantywaists.

Derby FALs
October 12, 2006, 01:08 AM
I don't remember what I was going to say.

Prince Yamato
October 12, 2006, 01:28 AM
If you're innocent, you say:

"I don't know who did it, but I'll cooperate in any way I can." and then as someone else mentioned, you shut the hell up. Don't play the anti-establishment asswad. Cops are real, bombs are real, you don't want either to go off on you. (most) police officers are your friends and want to help you. If you're truely innocent, what have you to fear about saying everything you know- which is nothing. When you're getting ready for school that day, say ten times to yourself in the mirror, "I will not be an asswad to the police officers."

DerringerUser
October 12, 2006, 02:03 AM
Well, heres my advice.

Cops and DAs are very sly, and they cannot be trusted. Simply say "I did not do it and i have no information on this matter" and wait until your lawyer gets there. The cops can bully stuff out of you that can be held against you in court, same with DAs. You can go ahead and say everything you know, just make sure your lawyer knows what you're doing, so he can advise you. Being interrigated or questioned without a lawyer could end up with you saying things you think were helping the poliece, or that you didnt think it had to do with anything, being used against you in court to try and convict you. Simply say "I didn't write the note and i have no information on the matter" and shut up until your lawyer arrives, then spill your guts out. But until then, dont let Cops or DAs bully anything out of you.


At least thats what its like here in Southern CA. Most cops are jerks down here (no offense to any So Cal LEOs, just every single cop i have met has been extremely rude and threataning).

Autolycus
October 12, 2006, 02:31 AM
How did it go? I am assuming you followed the majority of everyones advice.

Think of it like this... if there was a bomb you might have saved someones life by allowing the LEOs to search for the real bomber instead of focusing on you.

Trebor
October 12, 2006, 02:53 AM
The "Right to remain silent" means you don't have to speak if it may incriminate you.

It does NOT mean you have the right to refuse to answer a queston from law enforcement that does NOT tend to incriminate you.

If their on a witch-hunt, and they've picked you as the witch, get a lawyer. He'll help you prepare a statement. If their just asking pretty much EVERYBODY who could have left the note, and haven't singled you out, just answer the question and say you know nothing about it.

ilbob
October 12, 2006, 02:43 PM
Cops are real, bombs are real, you don't want either to go off on you. (most) police officers are your friends and want to help you

In cases where cops are trying to pin something on someone, they are no one's friend. They care only about finding someone to blame for the act. They do generally try to find the guy that actually did it, but if you piss them off, they may just decide you did it. and it will stick. So don't piss them off.

That are not acting in your best interests at all. It is up to you to act in your own best interests.

If you know nothing about it, just say so and move on.

If you actually know something about it, either rat out the guy or get legal counsel for advice first.

dragongoddess
October 12, 2006, 03:11 PM
if you are a minor the first thing out of your mouth I would think is you asking for your parents and not speaking further till they are present.

Thefabulousfink
October 12, 2006, 03:12 PM
I don't want to turn this into a cop-bashing thread. I have had encounters with several cops and all of them have been polite and professional. Of couse, none of them thought that I was a suspect. If a cop suspects that you did something, they are going to try their hardest to get you to give something away. That is their job and can be quite handy when dealing with criminal, however, it can be quite uncomfortable if you are innocent and the cop doesn't believe you.

Now if one of your school administrators tells the cop "This kid is trouble, He's the type who would do this, etc" then the cop is allready suspicious. When they question you, stay calm and tell them where you were and what you know. If they don't believe you and try to lean on you/threaten you ask to call your parents and then stop talking.

By yourself you are in a weak position, get frustrated, lash out, act smart, and they can make things a lot worse for you. If they don't believe that you weren't involved get your parents or a lawyer there before you say anything else. You are less likely to be bullied if you have an adult on your side.

Not all cops and school admins are out to get non-conformist kids, but every once in a while you run into the type who are either out to get you, over zealous, or just plain ignorant. As a minor in high school you are in a losing position and you have to choose your battles carfully. There is no point in standing up to "the Man" in this situation where you have nothing to gain and lots to lose.

I hope things turn out allright for you,

TheFabulousFink

romma
October 12, 2006, 03:43 PM
The "right to remain silent" is part of the Miranda warning that LEO's are required to give before questioning a suspect. It flows directly from the 5th Amendment protection from self-incrimination. If you're being questioned by the police, you always have the right to remain silent and to ask for an attorney. Law Enforcement can't punish you for refusing to answer questions.
That's why on every cop show, including the show "Cops", they always tell you they will go easier on you if you cooperate. They don't usually read you your rights till after they arrest you first now anyhow. Law enforcement seems to have a much wider latitude now, than every before. (I am not a cop basher, just expressing my opinion).... Brace for threadlock!

Smurfslayer
October 12, 2006, 04:06 PM
Get a recorder and recording media. If/when you're questioned, turn it on and announce that you are recording the conversation to avoid any misunderstandings. If you had nothing to do with it, no harm will befall you for so stating. If you can't get a recorder, get your parents to get one for you. If that's not going to fly, have a guidance counselor, teacher or similar that you know well enough to be on good terms with accompany you as "an impartial witness" - your parents don't count as "impartial". You don't want any misunderstanding as a result of some paper pusher writing something down wrong in their notes.

Do you know, or suspect you know who may have done this? If I were a betting man, my money would be that you do at least think you know or have suspicions. You may not want to get involved for a number of reasons, but I would suggest you think of the bigger picture.

If you had knowledge that a friend of yours with a penchant for explosives had killed a pet of someone else, would you report it to the police?

Most serial killers get their start by torturing, mutilating and killing animals.

Somebody leaving a b*mb threat may just be looking for attention, but they might not be. And if they're not lives could be at stake.

LoneStranger
October 12, 2006, 04:18 PM
To those who suggest complete cooperation, I remember a fellow by the name of "Scooter Libby" who is presently going to court for lying to investigators. He makes the claim that he misremembered some piece of information and that he was trying to cooperate.

If the investigators, in this case, where it has been shown that apparently they were running up a false trail, will prosecute what might be a bad memory then I would have to suggest that a person being questioned should claim their rights under the Fifth Amendment account you can be prosecuted for a bad memory.

That being said, once you have legal counsel, not parents, you should answer all questions through said legal counsel. This would make attacks on you due to bad memory less likely.

Finally, When a person has an acquaintance who talks or otherwise indicates that they might be a threat to others it could be argued that you, as an individual, should first make them aware that you do not wish to know and if they persist you will notify appropriate authorities. You are not a Snitch because this type of behaviour can spillover on you and you are only protecting yourself.

Derby FALs
October 12, 2006, 04:19 PM
That's why on every cop show, including the show "Cops", they always tell you they will go easier on you if you cooperate.

Usually that means they lack RS or PC to arrest you until you self incriminate.

:rolleyes:

Martha Stewart went prison for lying to investigators about a crime she was never convicted of, insider trading.

bass806
October 12, 2006, 05:35 PM
How about talking to your parents for some advice. Dude, your in high school and not on America's Most wanted. Lighten up.

romma
October 12, 2006, 06:09 PM
Quick point. You receive your Miranda warnings when you are arrested before questioning takes place, not at the initial contact. You are not being questioned at first contact, you are being interviewed. There is a distinct legal difference. Law enforcement officials may or may not charge you for a crime dependending on what you say at you "interview" Med... That's how it is today.

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