“I don’t want to talk to you no more, man,” he told the police.
Should the police have accepted his statement from someone who was attempting to exercise his right to remain silent? This question was the basis for a recent Court of Appeals case.
Miranda Rights During an Interrogation
If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, it is best to actually tell authorities “I am exercising my right to remain silent.” However, is saying “I don’t want to talk to you no more” close enough?
A defendant was brought to a police station and read his Miranda rights. Authorities questioned him about his participation in a gang-related shooting. Initially, the defendant denied any involvement and stated that he had driven straight home after work.
The detectives falsely told him they had incriminating evidence (they didn’t). Detectives claimed that the defendant’s car was identified by witnesses and caught on surveillance video and suggested the defendant “come clean” about his involvement in the shooting.
“I don’t want to talk to you no more, man,” the defendant said.
“I understand that, but the bottom line is…” the detective replied.
“You don’t want to hear what I’m telling you,” the defendant said.
“I’m so sorry. I can’t – you’re mumbling, you’ve got to speak up. I got bad hearing,” the detective responded.
The questioning then resumed in a normal fashion and the defendant went on to make incriminating statements about his involvement in the shooting.
At trial, the defendant was found guilty of murder and attempted murder. He was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison.
How Do You Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent?
The defendant appealed his conviction, and his appellate attorney argued that the defendant was exercising his right to remain silent by stating “I don’t want to talk to you no more” to authorities. The California Courts of Appeal disagreed, but the defendant continued appealing his case to the federal courts of appeal.
The Ninth District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the defendant’s statement to detectives was an “unambiguous” invocation of his right to remain silent. In the majority opinion, Judge Jay S. Bybee said that any reasonable person would understand the defendant’s statement as exercising his right to remain silent. “No fair-minded jurist could determine that Jones’s invocation was ambiguous,” Judge Bybee wrote.
The court added that when an “individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease.” Similarly, it is not required for a suspect to actually demand to remain silent, according to the court. Rather, the burden falls on law enforcement to respect the defendant’s right to remain silent.
What does this mean for the defendant in this case? Following the appellate court’s decision, he must either be released or given a new trial where any statements he made after attempting to exercise his right to remain silent are not included as evidence.
What does this mean for you? This case is a perfect example of why you should never give up on your criminal appeal. If the California appeals court turns down you appeal, continue to appeal your case to federal courts. Federal courts are often more liberal than California appeals courts, and federal appellate judges typically find legal reasons to reverse your conviction.
Contact a Skilled Appeals Lawyer at Wallin & Klarich Today
When you face the criminal justice system, you should never give up. A skilled and knowledgeable criminal appeals attorney may be able to find mistakes made in your case and use those mistakes to your advantage. That is why you should to speak to an experienced appellate attorney right away.
At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully fighting for the rights of our clients for more than 35 years. We know how to file a successful appeal and argue on your behalf in court.
With offices in Riverside, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich appeals attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.