Why in the world does every parent who is a prosecutor, a judge, or a law enforcement officer not just give their kids the above advice, but practically beat it into their heads? They drill into them: 1) Never, never, NEVER answer any police questions beyond just your name. 2) Always politely and respectfully say, “I’m invoking my right to remain silent and to have my attorney present for all further questioning.” 3) Repeat that phrase until they stop asking questions and terminate the interrogation.
Now I know!
I’m reading You Have the Right to Remain Innocent by James Duanne which I purchased immediately after viewing a video of his address to Regent University School of Law students entitled Don’t Talk To The Police. In both he gives a few obvious and many surprising reasons why answering even seemingly harmless police questions is never, EVER in your best interests. Along the way, he introduces ideas I’d never heard in the three formal law-related classes I’ve taken: Philosophy of Law, Business Law, and The Constitution. Most surprising of all being Justice Scalia’s shockingly naïve assertion that the Fifth Amendment privilege only protects the guilty, and that innocent people have no reason to even assert, much less treasure, that privilege. While I still adore Scalia—as I suspect Duanne may as well—this revelation was hard for me to digest (and harder still when verified). I’d also never encountered these explicit ideas working for my local Sheriff—although I’ve witnessed the truth of what he says firsthand. More than any other source, Duanne is the #1 reason I wrote my previous article about free law school. I can think of no better place to start than watching his video and reading his book. I still believe every American citizen needs to study law and I plan to publish more ways you can get started as I find them.
Most of us have heard about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, which sets forth the following warning (and the accompanying rights so famous from TV). The parenthetic comments are mine, based upon what I’ve learned working for the Sherrif and/or from Duanne’s video or book:
- You have the right to remain silent (but probably lack the ability, which police are counting on);
- Anything you say can (and definitely will) be used against you in a court of law; (BUT it can NEVER help you at all!)
- You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during the interrogation; (which is always ignored by law enforcement until you decide to invoke it)
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you; (you REALLY want to pay for one if you possibly can)
- You can invoke your right to be silent before or during an interrogation, and if you do so, the interrogation must stop. (So invoke it as soon as they ask for more than your name)
- You can invoke your right to have an attorney present, and until your attorney is present, the interrogation must stop. (People can be stubborn. If they keep asking questions, keep invoking it.)
Most writers keep their sources hidden, but I see no reason to hide mine. Here are some sites with useful info: