It’s hard to believe, but yet another entrenched constitutional right is up for debate to be trampled upon: the right to remain silent. This right, in fact, even goes beyond the U.S. Constitution and has become a chestnut of virtue for all: silence is golden. Well, apparently not anymore if the Supreme Court sides for the police in the case ofSalinas vs. Texas.
The case stems from a 1992 double-murder where police questioned Genevevo Salinas who was reported to have attended a party of the deceased. After Salinas voluntarily agreed to answer questions of the attending police officers, he refused one question: whether shotgun shells that were found at the scene would match a gun taken from the apartment. Instead, officers would later testify that his body language answered for him:
he ‘looked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, clinched his hands in his lap, began to tighten up.’ (Source)
Salinas was later charged and sentenced to 20 years based on this evidence, and the testimony of a friend who said he confessed. The question then becomes if the constitutional right to remain silent extends to the pre-arrest phase of investigation.