U.S. Supreme Court Limits Miranda Rights

CBP_Border_Patrol_agent_reads_the_Miranda_rights_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]


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8 Comments on "U.S. Supreme Court Limits Miranda Rights"

  1. Hadrian999 | Jun 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm |

    he had the right to remain silent….he didn't

  2. Cerebralcaustic | Jun 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |

    Let's try this alternate headline:

    “Supreme Court Clarifies Miranda Ruling”

  3. I'm the farthest thing from a right-winger, but your confession holding up in court isn't a limiting of your rights.

  4. The State's rights are more important than the individual's.

  5. meh he should have stayed silent or said no if he really didnt want to go to jail. Shooting someone if fine but lying to the police is not? I dont get the logic. plus if he really shot someone he should go meditate in jail so he does not do it again in the here after.

  6. Yes. Especially in the DDR which no longer exists. 🙂

  7. Wow guys, really? So the cops can continue to badger you until you crack? What about mentally handicapped suspects who might not have the faculties to say “At the risk of self-incrimination I would prefer to remain silent per my rights under the Miranda Act”?

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