Court rules against suspect who had been silent


Reuters
June 1, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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A criminal suspect who barely spoke — but said one incriminating word — during nearly three hours of police interrogation did not invoke his legal right to remain silent, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in the 5-4 ruling, concluded that the suspect waived his legal right to remain silent when he knowingly and voluntarily made an incriminating one-word answer to an officer’s question.

The high court’s conservative majority ruled that the suspect, who was initially told of his legal rights, never said he wanted to remain silent, did not want to talk with police or wanted an attorney.

The decision was the latest in a series of rulings in recent years by the court’s conservatives that generally side with the police while limiting the rights of criminal suspects.

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