You don’t have a right to remain to silent, unless you officially state that you are invoking the 5th Amendment, according to the Supreme Court.
In yet another blow to our Constitutional rights, Justice Samuel Alito ruled against a man who remained silent during police questioning, stating that because the man didn’t state during the interrogation that he wasn’t invoking his 5th Amendment rights, it wasn’t ‘invoked’.
The fact of remaining silent was then used against him.
A Constitutional right is not actually a right if it must be ‘invoked’ – it should be inherent to us all and the act of exercising it should be enough.
Can you imaging having to ‘invoke’ all your Constitutional rights for them to be ‘valid’?
Several years ago in Houston, Texas, two brother were shot at their home. Although there were no alleged witnesses, Genovevo Salinas was brought in for questioning as he had been at a party in the house which was where there crime had taken place. The police allegedly did not read Mr. Salinas his Miranda rights, and he was even not officially arrested. They invited him to the station where they interrogated him for over an hour, Salinas eventually agreed to hand over his weapon to the police for testing. The police asked if the gun would match the shells from the murder scene, and Salinas exercised his right to remain silent.
Traditionally, the Supreme Court has corroborated that prosecutors are unable to bring up a defendant’s refusal to answer the state’s questions as evidence, since that is a Constitutionally protected right. Seeing as we are innocent until proven guilty; the burden is on the state to prove our guilt beyond any reasonable doubt by presenting evidence and witness testimony. We might not be enjoying such a privilege for much longer it seems, and choosing to remain silent could start to be used against us.
Mr. Salinas argued in this case that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated, and Justice Samuel Alito condescendingly disagreed: asserting that Salinas had been free to leave, and that he did not formally assert his right to remain silent. Apparently, the distinct difference between him having been silent, and exercising the right of remaining silent, was that he didn’t affirmatively “invoke” his right to not answer questions. It is no secret that authorities frequently attempt to take advantage of those whom they arrest, strategically and aggressively interrogating them most often in order to conjure false confessions etc.
It is no surprise that we may hear of yet another occasion where authority figures have disrespected the Constitutionally guaranteed and protected rights of American citizens. The Supreme Court has already made a mockery of the 1st amendment in affording it to corporations, and in preventing citizens from exercising that right when any individual is around who is protected by secret service. Needless to say, the state doesn’t have much respect for any legislation which attempts to limit its power on the people.
In a disgrace to any free democratic society, following the decision in this case, prosecutors can now take advantage of your silence. If you choose to not answer questions and invoke your (supposed to be) Constitutionally protected right. For those who might fall into similar circumstances in the future, and wish to remain silent, Justice Alito advises you to state that you are choosing to not answer the officer’s question on Fifth Amendment grounds.