Home > Uncategorized > >Supreme Court holds that a person must affirmatively exercise his Miranda rights or his confession will be considered voluntary.

>Supreme Court holds that a person must affirmatively exercise his Miranda rights or his confession will be considered voluntary.

>Berghuis v. Thompkins (U.S. Supreme Court)

The police wanted to question Thompkins about a shooting. The police informed Thompkins of his Miranda rights, that he had the right to remain silent, and that he had the right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.

Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he wanted to speak with an attorney. However he remained significantly silent while being interrogated for 2 hours and 45 minutes in an 8 by 10 foot room.

An officer then asked Thompkins, “Do you believe in God?”

Thompkins answered “yes” as his eyes welled up with tears.

“Do you pray to God?”

“Yes.”

“Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?”

“Yes.”

Thompkins refused to make a written confession and the interview ended 15 minutes later.

The Court held in part that since Thompkins never said that he exercised his right to remain silent, or that he wanted an attorney, he did not exercise his Miranda rights, and his confession was voluntary and admissible. A person wishing to exercise rights must affirmatively so state.

Regards,
David Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)
http://davidtate.us

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