by Heather Bachman | June 6, 2010 1:00 pm
The Miranda Rights and what they entail has been a topic of both legal and political debate.: However, recently there has been a development in the aspect of when the right to speak is waived.: In the recent Supreme Court decision involving the criminal case of convicted murderer Van Chester Thompkins’ questioning, the Court determined that a suspect who speaks to police after being informed of his rights has raised the entitlement to be silent.: : Although recent reactions beg to differ and call it another “restriction” on Miranda Rights, the results of this case are not only in the police officer’s favor but also in favor of the courts.
First, the case in question raises even more inquiries as to why the case even made it this far.: The then murder suspect Van Chester Thompkins remained mostly silent for 3 hours before finally admitting to committing to the crime.: First, he was read his rights and seemed to have followed them quietly considering the three hour interrogation until being asked a certain question pertaining to praying to God after the shooting.: Obviously knowing he could have stayed quiet and may have altered the case totally by remaining so, he challenged his own admission stating he had invoked both his right to the Fifth Amendment and to stay silent.:
If won, this case would have been followed by many criminals and suspects declaring the same despite their own reading of the rights.: After staying silent for hours, Thompkins answers a question and now is revoking it attempting to use Miranda and the Fifth Amendment. SCOTUS responded with two words: Nice try.
Further, while Justice Sotomayer was quoted calling the decision a “defeat” in her dissent opinion, many see it as a win.: Miranda rights are for protection, not for infraction. If saying nothing regarding your rights and then somehow talking equals taking the fifth, the reason for reading Miranda goes out the window. If anyone can admit to anything after staying quiet and then scream about their rights, many cases can be challenged and risked.: A reversal of this decision would result in a crisis.: : : : : : : : : : :
Examining the rights themselves, it is common sense to everyone, whether they have been in trouble or not, that you have a right to be silent and refuse questioning. The Miranda Rights are not a secret nor are they in any way a private objective.: One episode of Law and Order and some people can recite them better than some police officers. Looking even deeper, obviously you could say Thompkins planned to use the Miranda Rights as a sort of safety net if he needed it when he refused to sign the form.:
No right has been violated by the majority decision of the SCOTUS in Thompkins.: Miranda rights, no matter what any legal response may say, are not in any way challenged by this case. What is challenged is the ability for criminals and suspects to sidestep the courts for their own well being just in case they slip up and talk to the police.: Hence, this is not a defeat for individual right; it is a win for our nation’s legal system and the pursuit of justice for victims of criminal activity. Another prospective loophole which could have freed many offenders if reversed has been tied around the neck of the criminal world.
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