Supreme Court issues ruling on right to remain silent

On behalf of Philip Nathe

Even those who know virtually nothing about the criminal justice system are likely aware that after an arrest an individual does not have to talk with law enforcement officers. Per their Miranda rights, Illinois residents have “the right to be silent.” The idea behind those rights is that one should not be forced to incriminate him or herself.

Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court clarified how far those rights extended. In a 5-4 decision, it determined that they did not apply to individuals who are not formally in police custody or under arrest.

This decision could have a great impact on the outcome of criminal cases in DuPage County, and throughout the nation. At least initially, possibly due to what is now a false sense of security, it is likely that individuals who are not under arrest will willingly talk with law enforcement officers believing that their failure to answer a question posed cannot hurt them. While not answering any questions may not end up as much of a problem, the failure to respond after a pattern of willingly providing answers could be something that a jury might find suspicious if that person is later arrested and prosecuted for a crime.

The criminal justice system is complex and can be difficult to navigate. There are likely many matters that could impact the outcome of a criminal case which the average person is not even aware of. For this reason when facing criminal charges, or even a criminal investigation, most find it helpful to work with a criminal defense lawyer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “‘Right to Remain Silent’ Is Limited,” Jess Bravin. June 17, 2013

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Supreme Court issues ruling on right to remain silent