The Constitution requires that once you invoke your right to remain silent, all police questioning must stop.  But did you invoke that right?  That may depend on what you said or how you said it.

            As an attorney, I always advise clients  to tell police “I wish to invoke my right to remain silent.  I wish to speak with a lawyer.”  However, even if you did not say the magic words, your response may still be enough to end police questioning as long as what you said or did was clear and unequivocal. 

            Courts have found the following sufficient to invoke the right to remain silent:

  • Answering “no, not no more'” when the defendant was asked whether after  understanding his Miranda rights, he wished to talk to police.
  • The defendant told detectives at least 45 minutes into his interrogation: “I don’t wanna answer no more questions, ’cause I can’t help you. And I don’t wanna dig myself into a hole.”
  • Where defendant said: “I ain’t got nothin’ else to say” at 1:41 a.m., “got nothin’ to say” at 4:03 a.m., and “don’t want to say nothing else about it” at 7:17 a.m.
  • Where defendant placed his hands over his ears and chanted “nah nah nah,” and the officers interpreted the defendant’s conduct as an expression of his desire to terminate the interview.
  • Where defendant told police he “had nothing to say.”

Courts have found the following did not invoke the right to silence:

  • Where police asked, “so anyway have you got enough?” and defendant answered, “yes, I guess that would be it…. I think you got enough, you got the story now.” The supreme court concluded that rather than attempting to terminate the questioning altogether, the defendant merely resisted answering questions concerning particular details of an offense to which he had confessed.
  • Where police asked: “Are you done talking to me? Are you done talking to all of us?”  and the defendant answered “yeah.” The court explained it was unclear from the defendant’s response whether he wished to invoke his constitutional right or whether he had nothing else to tell detectives.

If police violated your right to remain silent, your attorney may petition the court to suppress any resulting statements that you made. Bear in mind that different judges may see the facts of your case very differently. Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney familiar with your courthouse who can present your situation in its most favorable light.

            If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

Reference:  People v. Ward

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Spread the love
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.