Silence Before Miranda Warning May Be Used Against Suspect At Trial

2013

By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court decides in Salinas v. Texas that a suspect’s failure to answer a police officer’s question before he was arrested may be used against the suspect at trial. The case involved Genovevo Salinas, who was convicted of the shooting deaths of two brothers. Before his arrest, Salinas agreed to answer police questions but was silent when asked specifically about his shotgun and shells recovered at the scene. At his trial, the prosecutor pointed out Salinas’ silence on the question, saying it showed he was guilty. The Court says that since Salinas agreed to answer questions before he was arrested, he was not entitled to a Miranda warning nor could he invoke his right against self-incrimination.