What happens if you invoke your right to remain silent?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by M1911Owner, Jan 10, 2005.

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  1. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

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    In the situation you describe I CERTINALY WOULD, unless he told you exactly what it was about such as your neighbor was arrested for dope and we would like to ask you about what you may have seen during the time he was selling which could help us prosecute him.

    Only problem there is the likelihood you will get a subpoena to testify as a witness.

    If the Feds showed up at my door asking to chat and would not tell me what they wanted prior to talking and what ever they told me they wanted to talk about made no or little sense I’d assume they were looking at me and decline to talk.

    If the feds just like local cops have enough to arrest, once you lawyer up they will arrest you as a matter of proceeding with the investigation, why you ask…

    I twill compel you to hire a lawyer or just sit in jail, once you hire a lawyer then everyone can get down to business and they can talk to you or more than likely the DA will just talk to your lawyer.

    These shows like Law and Order NYPDBlue etc… do far more harm to people on the receiving end of LE than good.
     
  2. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    The big question is when you invoke. Every time these topics come up, everyone who has ever watched Law and Order says "I would just hand the cop my Driver's License and refuse to say a single thing besides 'I want a lawyer'."

    Yeah, ok. If we're at that stage, you're not even under arrest yet. The cops are trying to decide if you're someone who is a potential suspect, or if you're a Good Guy that they can cut loose so they can get back to looking for the Bad Guy. At best you are just denying the cop exculpatory information. At worst you are already the best lead they have, and you suddenly calling for a lawyer makes the cop think he's found his man.

    I'm not saying that you just run on and on at the mouth whenever the cops start asking you questions. But its not a very good idea to just immediately fall back to invoking as your response to everything. The problem is there is no bright-line distinction between when its time to talk and when you shut your mouth. It's a judgement call.

    To answer the original question, if you do 'invoke' it forces the cops to play the hand they are dealt. If that hand is a stacked deck that adds up to enough probable cause to arrest you, guess what? They'll arrest you. If it lacks that information, you will be released. If you're a really twitchy hair trigger type, it means that they only wanted to talk to you about a non-arrest sitaution, and will end up walking away scratching their heads and wondering what your issue is. ;)
    Mike
     
  3. M1911Owner

    M1911Owner Member

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    (Responding to TFW's post, while Coronach was posting at the same time.) So, it sounds like, if they don't have enough to arrest you, then they pretty much have to go away and leave you alone?

    The particular senario I'm thinking of is the guy who pointed the laser pointer at the jet. It sounds to me like he said way too much. If he had remained silent, then they wouldn't have had anything to arrest him for.

    I empathize rather strongly with that guy. If I were out pointing out stars with a laser pointer, I don't think it would ever occur to me that there would be a problem with pointing it at a jet that's a long way away. (In fact, I still don't get it--those pointers appear to have a lot of divergence, so I don't see how they could be very bright at that distance. I am suspicious that they're making gas-giant-sized planet out of a molehill.)
     
  4. why_me

    why_me member

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    How many more cases of laser pointing has there been?

    Maybe that was the whole point. When you get some one arrest the hell out of him. Make it a federal case. And if it gets dropped, it served its PR purposes.
     
  5. DMF

    DMF Member

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    The court can compel testimony as long as there is no jeopardy. Meaning if you're outside the statute of limitations, have been granted immunity, etc. can be compelled to provide testimony. You are only protected from incriminating yourself, and that goes way beyond the just saying you did it.
    The issue of rights advisement would only come up during a suppression hearing. For example if the defense tries to suppress a statement by claiming rights advisement was not done properly. However, the courts have repeatedly recognized that whether or not the subject has invoked their Constitutional rights is inherently prejudicial during trial, and therefore if a witness brings that up in front of jury there will most likely be a mistrial.
     
  6. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    After having your rights read to you. You should shut up.

    Say nothing to the police until your lawyer advises you to. The other thing that my wise old grandfather told me (as well as this advice) was to always tell the truth...the same truth...over and over. Don't change your story, and make sure you understand your own story before telling it. Stop at the end, don't add "details."

    Cliffs: Shut up till mouthpiece says talk. Once mouthpiece says talk, make sure you talk the truth. Understand your story and don't add on.
     
  7. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    It's this simple: If the cops have read you your rights, you are in trouble, and they aren't asking you questions because they want to offer you the opportunity to talk yourself out of trouble -- they want incriminating statements. **** and ask for a lawyer.

    If the cops have not read you your rights, tell them you'd love to talk to them, but you want to check with your attorney first. Ask the cop for his business card with contact info so you can get back in touch with him, as it may actually be in your best interest to talk to the police.

    I've been a prosecutor and a defense attorney. Here's a bit of criminal law lore: Nobody who has been read their rights has ever talked a investigator out of investigating them, nor have they successfully talked themselves out of a prosecution. :neener:
     
  8. SUE ROVR

    SUE ROVR Member

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    Don't say anything to the cops. If they knock on your door, do not answer unless you hear the word "warrant." Even then I would probably not open it.

    Don't go with them to the station, don't let them in the house, don't talk to them, ask them to leave your property.

    If you are pulled over, say "am I free to go" "am I under arrest"?

    Say it OVER AND OVER AGAIN and pin them to an answer.

    Yes they will not like it, yes they will probably give you a ticket.


    "for hours while they "decide what to do" or try to get a warrant"

    Presumptively invalid. 20minutes is the general guideline for a traffic stop.
     
  9. Igloodude

    Igloodude Member

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    One quick question - LE is not restricted to telling the truth in these circumstances, right? Just because he told you exactly what it was about doesn't mean that he told you exactly what it was about.

    As someone that would be inclined to assist the police in investigating a crime, I'm very interested in where I should be drawing the line between good citizenship and potentially exposing myself to prosecution.
     
  10. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    If you hear the Miranda warning, it means that you have already been arrested. That means that the cops already have enough PC to arrest you, regardless of any statements you make. If they're just talking to you about something you witnessed, ask yourself the following question: Did I do something illegal? If the answer is 'no', you're fine 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the time. Usually its fairly obvious what the topic is, and you will know what your involvement in it is. If you're concerned or confused, though, I'd invoke.

    As to Sue Rovr not even opening the door to talk to the cops...jeesh. You must be a favorite house when Girl Scout Cookie time rolls around. :rolleyes:

    Mike

    PS Hint: usually when we show up at someone's door, its not an arrest situation or even an investigation. But its ok, I will certainly put your lost wallet in storage down at the property room for your 'convenience' rather than returning it to you personally.
     
  11. HankB

    HankB Member

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    The one time officers came to my door without me calling them it was to ask about a car parked across the street without plates . . . they asked if it was mine. (Honest answer: No.) Then they asked if I knew whose it was. (Honest answer: Sorry, no idea.)

    They thanked me for my time, and a short while later the car was towed away.

    What I always wonder about on TV shows is where the cops "haul someone in for questioning." Can they actually do this without putting a person under arrest? I mean, if I were to be arrested, I would peacefully submit - if things go this way, the place to fight the cops is in court, NOT on the street - but I'd be inclined to not go along for the ride unless/until I was actually arrested. (Then I'd keep my mouth shut and tell them I needed my own attorney to explain my rights to me, as a previous poster already wrote.)
     
  12. JPL

    JPL Member

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    Once you invoke your right of silence, you're beaten until you rescind your right of silence and confess to anything and everything, including Trotsky's murder.
     
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    If you are taken in for "questioning", you have been arrested. If you have not been arrested, you have somehow indicated you are voluntarily going with the officers for a round of cold coffee and stale doughnuts and fellowship.

    Pilgrim
     
  14. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

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    TheFederalistWeasel: In a previous thread I stated that I believed you were a good cop. But I may have to retract that statement.

    Do you not have a moral problem with lying to someone? Yea, yea, I know what your argument is... if you don't lie, then the chance of putting the scumbag behind bars significantly decreases. In other words, "the end justifies the means." Call me an idealist, but I am of the opinion that lying is morally wrong, even if the outcome is "good."

    I suspect there are other cops who refuse to lie no matter what the circumstances are. These are cops I respect.
     
  15. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

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    No necessarily the USSC has ruled it’s a matter of official business and a rule of thumb they respect is this, as long as you are conducting reasonable official business the stop is good.

    Example would be I’m issuing you 8 citations, say I’m issuing you one for speeding, one for expired tag and you have six people in the car and none were wearing a seatbelt, you are getting total of 8 tickets. The USSC has held that if that stop went longer than normal as long as I was writing tickets it was a good stop.

    In one case they held a stop of almost 50 minutes was not unreasonable while the trooper issued tickets and waited for his dispatcher to verify insurance status of a veh. Prior to him making a decision to tow or not to tow.

    That is a decision you and only you can make, but I’m pretty sure that if you are being investigated with the threat looming over your head of jail you will know exactly why or have a good reasonable suspicion as to why the cops are there.

    As Coronach said, if you hear the Miranda warning, there’s you sign!

    Yes it’s called an investigative detention and the USSC ruled you could be held for up to 24 hours w/o being charged as long as the detaining officers can show a valid reasonable suspicion for the detention. You can't be hauled in for 24 hours on the basis you ran a red light and they want to talk to you about the whereabouts of Osmam Bin Laden. But you could be hauled in for the full 24 if you were a suspect in a felony investigation. Normally this is only done in extreme circumstances it’s not the norm because jails are over crowded as it is, the last thing one needs is to have to hold in isolation a person under investigative detention, plus in GA you have to notify a judge that you have done this and he/she will at a minimum want to know why you chose this route.
     
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Molon Labe

    I believe the "lying" FederalistWeasel is referring to is misrepresenting the amount of evidence the police are holding in hopes the suspect will decide, "If they have that, they've got me. I might as well try to cut a deal." It is done frequently to pit one accomplice against another. It is a common practice. I've done it, and I don't feel bad about it.

    What I never did, and I am sure FederalistWeasel will concur, is promise something I couldn't deliver. I never said, "If you tell me this I will let you go." If I told someone, even a dirtbag, I was going to do something, I did it.

    Very often I would have an arrest warrant for a local dirtbag. The word would get out I was looking for him and he would call the station wanting to know what it was all about. I would tell him if it was a petty matter. If it was a misdemeanor warrant for something like failure to appear in court or failure to pay a fine, I would promise if he came in right away I would give him another court appearance date and nothing more would happen. I kept my word. I also promised him that if I had to hunt him down he would spend time in jail until he could see the judge. I cleared a lot petty warrants that way.

    I watched another deputy ruin his reputation for telling the truth when he promised to do the same thing, but then hooked the guy up and took him to jail. I told the deputy after he did it he had ruined his reputation in town and no one would ever believe him again. He protested it was Ok to lie to suspects. I told him in the interrogation process the courts had said it was fine to do so, as long as you didn't promise something you couldn't deliver to get a confession. However, in the streets he was finished because no street person would ever believe him again.
     
  17. Havegunjoe

    Havegunjoe Member

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    Have you ever gotten a traffic ticket?

    What are the three questions you are inevitably asked by the officer?

    1. Do you know why I stopped you?
    2. Do you know the speed limit on the road you are on?
    3. Do you know how fast you were going?

    Answer any of these questions with something other than "no sir" and you have no chance of fighting the ticket in court if you choose to.

    Same goes for answering any questions without knowing the reason. If the police are at my door wanting to question me and wont tell me about what my answer is "no" and I close the door. If they don't allow me to do that I assume they are after me for some reason and then it's "not without an attorney present".
     
  18. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

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    Absolutely, I enjoy my paycheck a little too much! About the only bargaining chip I can play at my department is recommending that someone be allowed to OR (Own Recognizance) bond out, or just bond on a signature.
     
  19. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

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    Thanks Pilgrim. While any amount of lying makes me uncomfortable, I can certainly understand your point. I'll contemplate on it for a while. ;)
     
  20. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Molon Labe

    It all makes sense if you have read Sun Tzu's "Art of War". :)

    Pilgrim
     
  21. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    I'm actually disappointed to be the first to point out this is incorrect. QED actually is short for Quod Erat Demonstrandum, which translates into English as "As has been demonstrated."
     
  22. Jackthelad

    Jackthelad Member

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    Very interesting thread. I have never been arrested or detained and am not sure which route I would take. Logic seems to tell me that if you "open the door" to a dialogue, you can't really go back to shut it, but if you keep your mouth shut, you can always speak later. Funny thing is, I don't even like to speak to my brother in law, who is a County Prosecutor here in Ohio. Wait, come to think of it, I didn't like to speak to him before he was elected, either!
     
  23. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    Why?

    My answer to number 1 will typically be "No," but I generally do know the speed limit and as I routinely drive at or below the posted limit my answer to Nos. 2 and 3 will "Yes."

    Seems to me that telling an offer you have no idea what the speed limit is might be a good way to not ingratiate yourself.
     
  24. alan

    alan Member

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    Which jurisdiction are you in?
     
  25. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

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    Why?

    Because if you say "yes" to any of them, you are admitting (at least tacitly) the crime.

    1. Do you know why I stopped you?

    "Yes" = "I am aware you suspect me of crime X."

    2. Do you know the speed limit on the road you are on?

    "Yes" = "I am aware of the circumstances and legal limits."

    3. Do you know how fast you were going?

    "Yes" = "I am aware of what I was doing."

    While "yes" does not prove guilt, it seriously hampers your ability to convince anyone that you were not violating the law, all going toward proving "mens rea" ("guilty mind"). A reasonable person would conclude that, beyond a reasonable doubt, you were conciously breaking the law.
     
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