Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer Your DWI Right to Remain Silent is Going to Hell in a Handbasket

 The descent into Hell of Uncle Sam from

I love old expressions. In the United States we have so many idiomatic phrases that started long ago but still survive and thrive in our daily lexicon. I believe that many of Our Sacred Constitutional Rights are "going to hell in a handbasket."

Are We Going to Hell in a Handbasket?

My research into this expression revealed a few possibilities. They used to lower children into mines to work in handbaskets, clearly those dangerous places might qualify as hell? They used to call hot air balloon baskets (handbaskets), whether that trip up was to heaven or hell is another story. Going in a bad direction is what I currently see happening in the destruction (degradation) of our Constitutional Rights. A recent Supreme Court decision involving Your 5th Amendment Right to remain silent alarms me.

 The "Ithaca" Right to Be Silent,
YOU are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars.
YOU have a right to be here. And, whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Amen


We Used to have a 5th Amendment Right to Remain Silent?

Anything you say, can and will be used against you in a Court of law. Your car is stopped by the police, you choose to remain silent, afterall why give them ammo to use against you? It makes no sense to try and explain innocent behavior, right? The police, they are the government, and they are not your friend in this circumstance. It is your RIGHT to REMAIN SILENT!

A Fair Trial Right but No Longer at a Traffic Stop

Even in a trial the Judge would inform the jury not to take the defendant's silence (decision to not testify) as a indication (sign) of guilt. But we have new case law, going all the way to SCOTUS
Supreme Court of the United States, that a person's silence during police questioning can be used against them by the Prosecutor as evidence of GUILT!

Salinas v.Texas, 570 U.S. __, 133 S.Ct. 928 (2013) - Docket No. 12-246

SILENCE can now be introduced as a sign of GUILT! 

Salinas was found guilty of murder and given 20 years!

Even Judge Ginsburg said in oral argument, "What does silence mean other than "I fear self-incrimination?"

Yes, you have a RIGHT to remain silent and Now they have a RIGHT to beat you over the head with it. Sounds fair? Even if you expressly invoke it (state it expressly) they may (the Court did not decide this one)  use it as evidence against you. Although judging by the comments of the other Judges there is a difference between "testifying against yourself at trial" and "speaking against yourself on the street or at a police station."

Now the facts of Salinas are these:

1. Salinas agreed to talk to the police on his own accord (willingly)- he was NOT in custody.
2. Pre-Miranda (NO miranda given by the police - they did not have to because there was NO custody)
3. Salinas never expressly invoked his right to remain silent.

The Lesson from Salinas:

Don't willingly and freely talk to the police (go into the Lion's den) without an attorney.

"Mommy when is this nightmare going to end?"

I still love my country. Out of all the places (countries) on planet Earth I have visited, this is still my home. It just pains me to see the direction we are moving in terms of our rights as a people. Maybe this is necessitated by the dangers of terrorism? Maybe because of the needs of the many to be safer? As a DWI defense attorney protecting (defending) people against an overreaching powerful government it concerns me.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law