WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court seems worried about letting prosecutors use a suspect’s pre-Miranda silence against them in court.
The justices heard an appeal Wednesday from Genovevo Salinas. During police questioning, and before he was arrested or read his Miranda rights, Salinas did not answer when asked if a shotgun he had access to would match up with the murder weapon. Prosecutors in Texas used his silence to convict him of murder, saying it demonstrated guilt.
His lawyer Jeffrey Fisher called that “a trap for the unwary,” with people thinking they have a right to remain silent when confronted with the police. Prosecutors want people to tell police they are remaining silent or they could tell juries their silence is a sign of guilt.