Pleading the Fifth and Understanding Your Miranda Rights

Kristeen Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Free

Pleading the Fifth allows a witness to decline to answer questions which might otherwise incriminate him or her without penalty. The Miranda Warning sets an acceptable preventative measure for those well-established rights.

When the Supreme Court created the Miranda warning, its purpose was to shield people in police custody from being forced to make statements which would later be used against them at trial. At its heart, the Miranda warning is a “procedural safeguard” an extra lock on the door so to speak.

Before Miranda, police induced confessions through torture, deprivation of food and water, lies and other cruel and inhumane treatment. After Miranda, police were force to incorporate the Miranda Warning; although most often police downplay the warning with a routine and casual announcement hoping you’ll let down your guard.

Keep in mind, an officer has the right to ask you questions; YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECLINE TO ANSWER.

People often blurt out admissions in the heat of the moment or let the police bait them into admissions. 80 percent of people don’t invoke their Miranda Rights do so because they feel they’ll antagonize the police further by stating “I refuse to answer any questions until I see my attorney.” However, the best advice is quite simple: Be cooperative, courteous, well-mannered, provide identification, but say nothing other than to request a lawyer.

When you’re asked why you refuse to answer; courteously REPEAT “I refuse to comment or provide an answer.” The reason you’re asked this is because, once you answer you’re contradicting yourself by providing an answer, they’re psychologically programming and conditioning you to answer even more questions. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or herself. Outside the context of detention or arrest, a person has no duty to answer any questions by police at all; and if judicial compulsion is sought by the State, the person can still invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right against compulsory self-incrimination, and refuse to comply.

It’s been proven juveniles who do not keep silent in nearly 90 percent of interrogations, often do not understand the Miranda Warning and therefore don’t take advantage of it. Some have misconstrued the warning to mean that they should stay silent (quiet and respectful) except to answer questions. They talk to police in order to comply with the authority figure in the room. People with mental disabilities are less likely to understand the Miranda Warning as are people who speak English as a 2nd language. Also a recent study showed people who have been hit by a Taser most likely suffer from a cognitive impairment affecting memory and ability to process information.

The traditional Miranda Waring ends with a question along the lines of “do you understand these rights as they have been read to you”. A suspect must affirmatively respond they understand these rights – courts will not interpret silence as a sufficient acknowledgment of the Miranda warning. YOU MUST VERBALLY STATE and WRITE on the document BEFORE affixing your signature “I DO NOT WANT TO BE QUESTIONED WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY PRESENT.” When a prisoner demands a lawyer ALL QUESTIONING MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY since a lawyer would probably not be immediately available, prepare to sit for a very long time.

June 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an individual must specifically invoke the Fifth Amendment right to “remain silent”, otherwise silence can be used against him or her in court. In that case, a murder suspect refused to sign an acknowledgment of his Miranda Rights, then later made statements that were used against him in his conviction for the crime. The Court ruled the burden was on the suspect to invoke his Miranda Rights, and hisxfailure to sign the acknowledgment essentially amounted to a waiver of those rights.

The police like to play games with prisoners and are legally allowed to lie, cheat and trick alleged suspects into making false confessions or unwise statements. Under the Reid Method criminal interrogation and confessions gained by falsely accusing suspects by treating them aggressively and telling lies about the amount of evidence proving their guilt. Such exaggerated claims of evidence, such as video or genetics (DNA), led to potentially innocent suspects becoming overwhelmed. Also people sometimes make statements hoping for leniency by rating out friends or family only to be told their statements were not good enough and will now be used against them. Keep in mind you WILL NOT be able to talk yourself out of the jam, SAY NOTHING.

If you receive a request to go to the police station to answer questions, or if the police come to you and ask questions, you DO NOT have to answer and can politely decline. You can assume, though, that if the police really want to talk to you, they’ll come up with ‘probable cause’ and either arrest you (requiring that you be read the Miranda Warning) or they’ll get a search warrant if they feel you are in possession of evidence a crime has been committed.

The Miranda warning is just that, a WARNING. Don’t make matters worse for yourself. When in doubt, shut up. Even if you desperately want to talk, shut up anyway. There is very little, if anything, you can say to help yourself. Most of what you say will hurt you because the police lie, twist, turn and manipulate your words.

Remember once a suspect waives their Miranda Rights, police use psychological and coerciveness techniques to obtain confessions and incriminating statements by implementing a high-stress, hours-long interrogation. The police are authorized to lie to the suspect about witnesses, physical evidence and even identification line-ups. The suspect, exhausted and confused after hours of questioning, may confess just to make the interrogation end.

MIRANDA WARNINGS DON’T ALWAYS APPLY
There are two very basic prerequisites before the police must issue a Miranda warning to a suspect:

1. The suspect is in police custody
2. The suspect is under interrogation
3. It’s crucial to understand these prerequisites because if you aren’t formally in police custody, and you aren’t being interrogated, the police don’t have to give you a Miranda warning. This, in turn, means that the police can use anything you say until those two requirements are fulfilled as evidence against you.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE MIRANDA RULE give police a real incentive to violate the rule. Moreover, they mean suspects have to protect themselves. Suspects who think what they say can’t be used against them at trial because they weren’t given Miranda warnings need to understand improperly obtained statements may well be admissible in evidence.

• Public safety. In dangerous situations, the “public safety” exception allows police officers to question suspects about weapons without giving a Miranda warning. If the interrogation leads the police to a weapon, it can be used against the suspect at trial. (N.Y. v. Quarles, U.S. Sup. Ct. 1984.)
• Tangible evidence. Dangerous situation or not, any tangible evidence (such as a threatening note or the loot from a robbery) that the police learn about through questioning that violates Miranda can generally be used against a suspect in court. (U.S. v. Patane, U.S. Sup. Ct. 2004.)
• Witness. If a statement taken in violation of Miranda leads the police to another witness, that witness can testify against a suspect at trial. (Michigan v. Tucker, U.S. Sup. Ct. 1974.)
• “Inevitable discovery.” If the police would have eventually found tangible evidence on their own, the evidence can be used against a suspect at trial even if the police actually found out about it during questioning that violates Miranda.

KNOW YOUR 4TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS
Click to Read Any time an emergency vehicle stops you, you’re being detained. If police flag you down, pull over immediately, turn off your car, and place your hands on the wheel. When the officer asks for your license and registration, give it to them. If you’re ordered to exit the vehicle

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