Everyone knows that when building a police state, it’s vital to strike a few Constitutional rights off the books. Now, we can add the right to remain silent to the graveyard of the American justice system. How can you expect the people to be properly subjugated with all those pesky freedoms that the Bill of Rights blathers on about?
The would-be totalitarians can chalk up another victory, because the Supreme Court has made the decision that if you opt to remain silent, that silence can (and will) be used against you in a court of law.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees our right against self-incrimination.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The Supreme Court said that unless a person specifically asks for their Fifth Amendment right to remain silence, that your silence can be used as an indication of guilt. The case was brought to court on the basis of an unconstitutional prosecution against Genovevo Salinas. Justice Alito, who has a history of excusing the most disturbing abuses in favor of the government, said,“[Salinas’] Fifth Amendment claim fails because he did not expressly invoke the privilege against self-incrimination in response to the officer’s question. It has long been settled that the privilege `generally is not self-executing’ and that a witness who desires its protection `must claim it.’”
So, the advice to sit there and keep your mouth shut, should you be unfortunate enough to have been accused of committing a crime, is no longer the best option. If the police fail to read you your Miranda warning, you must explicitly say that you are claiming your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself. In stating that, aren’t you, in fact, letting the police know that a crime, has indeed been committed by you? The right to remain silent is supposed to mean just that – you can refuse to answer questions and your silence will not be used against you.
Justice Breyer said, in his dissent:
“The need to categorize Salinas’ silence as based on the Fifth Amendment is supported here by the presence, in full force, of the predicament I discussed earlier, namely that of not forcing Salinas to choose between incrimination through speech and incrimination through silence. That need is also supported by the absence of any special reason that the police had to know, with certainty, whether Salinas was, in fact, relying on the Fifth Amendment—such as whether to doubt that there really was a risk of self-incrimination, see Hoffman v. United States, 341 U. S. 479, 486 (1951), or whether to grant immunity, see Kastigar, 406 U. S., at 448. Given these circumstances, Salinas’ silence was “sufficient to put the [government] on notice of an apparent claim of the privilege.” Quinn, supra, at 164. That being so, for reasons similar to those given in Griffin, the Fifth Amendment bars the evidence of silence admitted against Salinas and mentioned by the prosecutor.”
In 2001, Ohio vs. Reiner, the Supreme Court ruled that “a witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The privilege serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.”
Apparently they have changed their minds.
As Justice Breyer said, you must now choose whether to incriminate yourself through speech and incriminate yourself through silence. I wasn’t there when they wrote it, but I really don’t think that “devil and the deep blue sea” decision is what the authors of the Fifth Amendment had in mind.
The “Supreme Court” is a joke.
Yesterday it was announced that they struck down the need to prove your citizenship in order to vote in the United States – all you have to do is say you’re an American, and then “poof – here’s a ballot!” They have decided again and again in favor of huge, evil corporations like Monsanto. They have decided in favor of Obamacare. The conflicts of interest within the Supreme Court, large corporations, the banking industry, and the government are so blatant that they don’t even bother to defend themselves against accusations of such.
The checks and balances designed to be in place with the three branches of power are all leaning to one side – there is no balance. We are collapsing into a police state, and the Judicial branch has just tipped us even further into that deep hole. It would be difficult to argue that this destruction of our freedom is not deliberate.
The Justices of the highest court in the land don their robes, they hear these cases, and they destroy the Constitution, amendment by amendment.