Supreme Court conservatives on June 1 approved tighter limits on the Miranda rights for criminal suspects for the third time in the court’s current session. This comes over the concerns of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the court’s other liberal members.

The court in a 5-4 decision ruled that a suspect who proceeds to talk to police after being informed he has the right to remain silent has waived his Miranda rights.

“In sum, a suspect who has received and understood the Miranda warnings, and has not invoked his Miranda rights, waives the right to remain silent by making an uncoerced statement to police,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in a majority opinion, according to BlackAmericaWeb.com.

But Sotomayor argued that the ruling overturns Americans’ rights of protection from police abuse.

“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which counter-intuitively requires them to speak,” Sotomayor wrote in a dissenting opinion, according to The Washington Post. “At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so.”

Upon making an arrest, police must recite individuals their Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

However, the recent ruling declares that suspects must break their silence to tell police they are going to remain quiet to stop an interrogation, and the same goes for their request for a lawyer. University of Michigan Law School professor Richard Friedman told BlackAmericaWeb.com that the decision will allow police to question a suspect who refuses to talk as long as they want as a tactic to get the person to crack and give up information.

“It’s a little bit less restraint that the officers have to show,” Friedman said.

Sotomayor said making a suspect talk in order to secure their right to remain silent “turns Miranda upside down.” In her dissent, she spoke on behalf of the liberal justices when she wrote, “a substantial retreat from the protection against compelled self-incrimination that Miranda v. Arizona has long provided during custodial interrogation.”

 

MelanieR.Holmes

AFROStaffWriter