Here we go again – the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, one of the enduring parts of the Bush legacy, is messing with a previous Supreme Court decision that most Americans hold sacred: the Miranda warning. From Detroit News:
A Michigan man will continue serving a life sentence for murder after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that he gave up his rights against self-incrimination because he did not explicitly tell police he wanted to remain silent after his arrest.
The 5-4 decision overturns a ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and reinstates Van Chester Thompkins’ conviction for a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield.
Detroit attorney Elizabeth Jacobs, who argued the case for Thompkins, 33, in front of the Supreme Court in March, said the ruling is “very disappointing.” The court is “diminishing Miranda rights as we know them,” Jacobs said.
Miranda rights are the rights of a suspect to remain silent. Police tell suspects about those rights in a statement called a Miranda warning that gets its name from a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 1966.
When police questioned Thompkins, he remained mostly silent for more than two hours, Jacobs said.
But he later answered “yes” when one of the officers asked him if he prayed for forgiveness for “shooting that boy down.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said Thompkins could have ended the questioning by telling the police he wanted to invoke his right to remain silent.
In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision “turns Miranda upside down.” It’s counterintuitive, she said, to require a suspect to speak in order to exercise the right to remain silent…
[more from Detroit News]