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Florida Criminal Lawyer Update :: U.S. Supreme Court Erodes Miranda and Right to Remain Silent


Miranda has lost a little strength in Florida criminal cases after a surprising 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer where the majority found that when the prosecution can “show that a Miranda warning was given and that it was understood by the accused, the accused’s uncoerced statement establishes an implied waiver of the right to remain silent.” The case, Berghuis v. Thompkins, will undoubtedly be a hot topic before the U.S. Congress in the coming weeks since Elena Kagan, current Obama administration nominee for U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Solicitor General, successfully argued this case on behalf of the State of Michigan.

The Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton deal with Miranda and the right to remain silent in all our criminal cases. Whether it be an arrest for Murder in New Port Richey, Grand Theft in Ocala or DUI in Brooksville, Miranda, (i.e, the right to remain silent and the right not to be forced to assist the government in their prosecution of you) is as vital a constitutional right as any other right. This latest decision is in many ways very difficult to understand as it has essentially determined that in order to firmly declare your right to remain silent, you must abandon your silence and affirmatively tell police that wish not to speak to them.

Certainly, those clients who have had the opportunity to speak to counsel beforehand will have no problem with this, but most clients do not have the foresight to discuss potential arrest encounters with criminal defense attorneys beforehand. They are often scared, not thinking clearly and will say or do anything to escape the inescapable…their arrest.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by the other four “conservative” Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito. The dissent was penned by newly appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor and joined by Justices Ginsburg, Stevens and Breyer.

After all we read about what it means to be a conservative, i.e. less government and more self-determination, this opinion appears to take those ideals and set them on their head.

If you have a Florida Criminal Arrest or any questions about your rights, please contact the lawyers at Whittel & Melton at 866-608-5529 or online.

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