Texas CHL -
Changes To Miranda Rights - Texas Law Shield News
Michael D. Wisdom, President, Walker, Rice & Wisdom
An on going service of Walker, Rice & Wisdom, P.C. and the Texas Law Shield Firearms program is to periodically send out updates on the law that can affect CHL Holders if they are ever forced to use their gun. The purpose in these updates is to simply make each of you informed about changes in the law. In this edition, they examine changes to your Miranda Rights. Love the change, or, hate the change, the U.S. Supreme Court is now saying it is the law of the land and these changes will effect you if you use your gun.
Everyone has heard of the Miranda warnings,
"You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney" etc.
The U.S. Supreme Court in its recent ruling in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins No. 08-1470, held that if you are being questioned by the police (ie.you had to use your gun to protect yourself, or for that matter any reason) simply remaining silent when being questioned by the police is not enough to trigger your constitutional right to cease the police interrogation. The Supreme Court has now held that to end the interrogation you must affirmatively request your lawyer before the questioning has to legally cease. If you do not affirmatively invoke your right to counsel, the police can keep questioning you indefinitely. Just remaining silent and saying nothing does not trigger your constitutional rights under the Court's new ruling.
Further, if you do not invoke your rights to remain silent and request legal counsel the police can now legally continue to question you for as long as they like. Anything you say or do can be held as a waiver of your right to remain silent. In the Thompkins case the Supreme Court actually considered and wrote about, among other things, that the person in custody had shown an intent not to remain silent by rejecting a breath mint offered to him by a police officer, complaining that the chair he was sitting in was too hard, and nodding his head. Because the person in custody did these things, the Court ruled that he did not wish to remain silent. Therefore, the police interrogation could continue.
Thus, if you are in a situation in which you have used your gun, make sure you invoke your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present. If you do not, the police are under no obligation to stop interrogating you. Know your rights and protect them. When you give a statement about what happened after a shooting to the police, make sure your attorney is present.
Whether, you like the Court's new holding in this case or hate it, it is the law of the land!
As lawyers, we always advise you to have your lawyer present during any police questioning. Know your rights and protect them! Brave men and women put their life on the line every day so that we may keep and use these liberties.
God bless each of you, the United States of America, and the Great State of Texas.