Miranda rights — the "right to remain silent" — took another hit from the US Supreme Court.
As reported minutes ago in the New York Times:
Criminal suspects seeking to protect their right to remain silent must speak up to invoke it, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, refining the court’s landmark 1966 ruling in Miranda v. Arizona.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-4 decision that split along familiar ideological lines, did not disturb Miranda’s requirement that suspects be told they have the right to remain silent. But he said that courts need not suppress statements made by defendants who receive such warnings, do not expressly waive their rights and speak only after remaining silent through hours of interrogation.[...]
“A suspect who has received and understood the Miranda warnings, and has not invoked his Miranda rights, waives the right to remain silent by making an uncoerced statement to the police,” Justice Kennedy wrote.
Of course, with all the anti-Miranda talk coming from the right following the capture of would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, the timing of this decision couldn't feel more political. (And we're told all the "activist judges" are on the left?)
Still, it may not matter much back home in Indiana. The Indianapolis Star's Jon Murray points out in a blog post today that it remains to be seen just how the decision will affect criminal justice procedures in Indiana. In a broadly conservative state, some argue that Indiana law actually affords accused persons greater protection than federal Miranda requirements.
Based on past rulings, Indiana's top court might come to a different conclusion if handed the same case, according to Joel Schumm, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that when a defendant challenges whether his confession can be used as evidence, prosecutors must prove the statement was given voluntarily beyond a reasonable doubt — a stricter burden than is required by many other states and the federal courts.
To Schumm, that means a suspect's waiver of his or her right to remain silent must be more explicit before an interrogation can continue in Indiana.
Hat tip to Murray for the great local context.