CAN THE STATE USE YOUR SILENCE AGAINST YOU IF YOU DON’T AFFIRMATIVELY INVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT?
In short, Yes. Unless you invoke your right remain silent, your silence may be used against you. In the United States, the state can use a suspect's silence against them in court if they do not affirmatively invoke their right to remain silent. According to the ruling in Berghuis v. Thompkins, a suspect's right to remain silent is not automatically invoked simply by remaining silent. To invoke the right to remain silent, a suspect must make an "unambiguous" statement that they wish to remain silent or make a statement that clearly indicates that they do not wish to speak with the police.
It is important to note that the use of a suspect's silence against them in court is limited to certain circumstances, such as when the suspect is being questioned in custody and has been advised of their Miranda rights. And this only applies for criminal proceedings, not for civil proceedings.
There are two cases that address this issue:
Salinas v. Texas, 570 U.S. __, 133 S.Ct. 2174 (2013).
Can an individual’s silence in response to a question ever be used against the individual in a prosecution?
Salinas v. Texas is a United States Supreme Court case that was decided in 2013. The case involved a man named Genovevo Salinas who was arrested and charged with murder. During a voluntary interview with the police, Salinas was questioned about the crime and remained silent when asked if the shotgun shells found at the crime scene would match his shotgun. Salinas' silence was later used against him in court to help establish his guilt.
The Supreme Court ruled that Salinas' silence during the voluntary police interview could be used against him as evidence of guilt at trial. The Court held that Salinas' Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination was not violated because he had not been formally arrested or advised of his Miranda rights at the time of the interview. The Court also held that Salinas' silence during the interview could be used as evidence of guilt because he had not affirmatively invoked his right to remain silent.
This decision clarified that a suspect's silence can be used against them in court if they have not been formally arrested or advised of their Miranda rights, and if they have not affirmatively invoked their right to remain silent. It also clarified that a suspect's silence during a voluntary interview with the police is not protected by the Fifth Amendment, and can be used as evidence in a criminal trial.
Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370 (2010).
Berghuis v. Thompkins is a United States Supreme Court case that was decided in 2010. The case involved a man named Van Chester Thompkins who was arrested and charged with murder. During his interrogation, Thompkins remained silent for three hours before making a statement that was used as evidence against him at trial. Thompkins argued that his statement should not have been used as evidence because it was made after he had invoked his right to remain silent.
The Supreme Court ruled that in order for a suspect's right to remain silent to be invoked, they must make an "unambiguous" statement that they wish to remain silent, or make a statement that clearly indicates that they do not wish to speak with the police. In this case, the Court held that Thompkins' silence during his interrogation did not constitute an invocation of his right to remain silent, and his statements could be used as evidence against him at trial.
This decision clarified that to claim the right to remain silent, a suspect must take some affirmative action, such as stating that he wants to remain silent. The court also stated that the suspect must do so in a clear and unequivocal way, otherwise the law enforcement can still continue questioning.