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Right to remain silent

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Shadowpballer, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Shadowpballer

    Shadowpballer Member

    At my school someone (I bet it’s 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 “I don’t have anything to hide” is never a good approach with authority.
  2. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Well-Known Member

    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?
  4. Shadowpballer

    Shadowpballer Member

    I was thinking of doing that, but the ACLU side of my brain says "dont talk"

    and no, I did not do it
  5. RNB65

    RNB65 Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. salvador31c

    salvador31c Well-Known Member

    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
  7. shield20

    shield20 Well-Known Member

    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:
  8. Vairochana

    Vairochana Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. Thefabulousfink

    Thefabulousfink Well-Known Member

    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).
  11. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. SoCalShooter

    SoCalShooter Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    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!
  14. 4t5

    4t5 Active Member


    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 by Boston T. Party, especially since we are now all potential terrorists!
  15. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Well-Known Member

    "No, I didnt do it, sorry."
  16. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Well-Known Member

    I don't know usually works.

  17. brerrabbit

    brerrabbit Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Delta608

    Delta608 Well-Known Member

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

    LkWinnipesaukee Well-Known Member

    We had some idiot write a bomb threat in the bathroom. It happens everywhere.
  20. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    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.


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