Just being silent is not enough. The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that a suspect's silence during informal police questioning can be used as evidence of guilt unless the right is invoked.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Prosecutors can use a suspect’s silence during informal police questioning as evidence of guilt at a subsequent trial, the US Supreme Court said on Monday.
In a case with important implications for individuals at the early stages of a police investigation, the high court said that a suspect must verbally invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to prevent police and prosecutors from using any resulting silence and incriminating body language as evidence of guilt during a jury trial.
“The Fifth Amendment guarantees that no one may be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; it does not establish an unqualified right to remain silent,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.
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