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You Have the Right to Remain Silent

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

You Have the Right to Remain Silent Fool!

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT | USE IT

Most people view the fifth amendment as a shelter or haven for individuals who have committed a crime. Invoking your right to remain silent is typically viewed as an admission to criminal conduct. After all, if you have nothing to hide in you have nothing to worry about speaking to the police. Right? You couldn’t be more wrong.

10 REASONS TO NEVER SPEAK TO THE POLICE

  1. If the police already have enough evidence to arrest you, they are going to arrest you no matter what you say. If they don’t have enough evidence, you will probably provide them with enough evidence to arrest you………. even if you are innocent.
  2. There is a reason the United States Supreme Court makes police officers warn you that you have a right to remain silent before they ask you questions. It is because speaking to the police is a bad idea nearly 100% of the time………….. even if you are innocent.
  3. The prosecution cannot introduce evidence at a trial concerning you exercising your right to remain silent. The prosecution will cherry pick your worst statements out of context and use them against you in court.
  4. There is no way it can help. I have seen thousands of people talk their way into getting arrested. I have seen one (1) client give a statement and not end up arrested.
  5. If you are guilty, or innocent, you may admit guilt with no benefit in return. If you admit guilt up front, you lose the ability to negotiate a more favorable plea.
  6. Even if you are innocent and only tell the truth, you will always give the police some information that can be used to arrest and convict you.
  7. Even if you are innocent, only tell the truth and say nothing incriminating, there is still a chance that you will be convicted if the police officers do not recall your statements with 100% accuracy.
  8. Even if you are innocent, only tell the truth and say nothing incriminating, there is still a chance that you will be convicted if the police officers do not recall their questions with 100% accuracy.
  9. Even if you are innocent, only tell the truth, say nothing incriminating and your statement is transcribed, audio or video recorded, you can still be convicted if the police have any evidence that any of the statements you made are false. Even the little white lies.
  10. There are over 10,000 pages of federal criminal statutes and thousands of pages of state statutes. There are in an infinite number of factual scenarios where speaking to the police freely might implicate you in some sort of crime that you did not even know existed.

After all that, remember, you have the right to remain silent.  Exercise that right.

WHY WAS THE FIFTH AMENDMENT CREATED?

The Fifth Amendment was created to protect the innocent, not the guilty. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can take the word of Justice Frankfurter, former associate justice United States Supreme Court. “Too many, even those who should be better advised, view this privilege as a shelter for wrongdoers. They too readily assume that those who invoke it are either guilty of crime or commit perjury in claiming the privilege.” Ullmann v. United States, 350 U.S. 422, 426(1956). “The Fifth Amendment’s basic function[s] … is to protect innocent men … who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances. ” See Ohio v. Reiner, 532 U.S. 17, 20(2001).

You Have the right to remain silent. Use it. Refuse to speak with the police without an attorney present. I was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2004. Over the length of my career, I have personally had one (1) client that I allowed to speak to the police during the investigation stage.  A colleague of mine has also allowed (1) client to speak to law enforcement during the investigation stage. Our 2 cases are the only 2 that I am aware of where speaking to law enforcement prior to the filing of charges helped the situation. Those were once in a career cases. I know that I’ll never see another like it.

SOURCES

Please note that I stumbled across this topic while doing legal research for a case. I saw a YouTube video by Regent University Law Professor James Duane which is posted above. It was very informative and I would like to generally site to his video as my source for much of the above information contained herein. Although it has always been my opinion, and almost every criminal defense attorney’s position, that you have a right to remain silent and you should use it.

For additional information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525

 

Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial Evidence

Strong Circumstantial Evidence

What is Circumstantial Evidence

Evidence in a criminal trial can be either direct or circumstantial.  Circumstantial evidence is dependent upon inference, logic and/or reasoning to reach a conclusion of fact.  Direct evidence is a direct observation of fact that does not need any further thought to reach a factual conclusion.  The difference between direct and circumstantial evidence is best shown by example.

Direct evidence – Witness “A” testifies that she saw her husband in bed with another woman.

Circumstantial evidence – Witness “A” testifies that she saw a three pack of condoms in her husband’s suitcase after he returned from a business trip and that there were only two condoms left.

In either instance, a reasonable person could arrive at the conclusion the husband is in a lot of trouble.  Most criminal defendants try to avoid generating direct evidence.  As such, criminal trials tend to have substantial amounts of circumstantial evidence.

Other general examples of circumstantial evidence include forensic evidence.  A fingerprint at a crime scene can be very damaging evidence.  DNA evidence in rape cases and murder cases.  Odontological evidence was important in the trial of Ted Bundy.  Odontological evidence has proven to be reliable in identifying dead bodies.

Use of Circumstantial Evidence

There is a widespread misconception in the general public that circumstantial evidence is somehow weaker than or less than direct evidence.  This can actually work to the advantage of the defense when the State’s case is based entirely on or mostly on circumstantial evidence.  Make no mistake about it, people can and do get convicted based on circumstantial evidence alone.

Due to this widespread misconception, a clear and concise jury instruction on circumstantial evidence tends to favor the prosecution.  An example of a well drafted jury instruction on circumstantial evidence is found in North Carolina Pattern Jury Instruction 104.05 which states:

“The law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence.  Nor is a greater degree of certainty required of circumstantial evidence than of direct evidence.  You should weight all of the evidence in the case.  After weighing all of the evidence, if you are not convinced of the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant not guilty.”

This jury instruction is typically favorable to the prosecution because it brings the issue of circumstantial evidence to the attention of the jury and specifically instructs the jury that circumstantial evidence is no different than direct when it comes to reaching a verdict.  It is my experience that most jurors are not comfortable convicting an individual based solely on circumstantial evidence unless the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.  Without the jury instruction on circumstantial evidence, jurors tend to give it less weight which typically works to the benefit of the defendant.

Florida Jury Instruction on Circumstantial Evidence

The Florida Supreme Court eliminated the circumstantial evidence jury instruction in 1981.  The reason that the Florida Supreme Court eliminated the jury instruction on circumstantial evidence was because it suggested that the law treats circumstantial evidence differently than direct evidence.  In order to justify the elimination of jury instruction on circumstantial evidence, The Florida Supreme Court cited to Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 75 S. Ct. 127, 99 L. Ed. 150 (1954).  In Holland, the United States Supreme Court stated:

“Circumstantial evidence in this respect is intrinsically no different from testimonial evidence. Admittedly, circumstantial evidence may in some cases point to a wholly incorrect result. Yet this is equally true of testimonial evidence. In both instances, a jury is asked to weigh the chances that the evidence correctly points to guilt against the possibility of inaccuracy or ambiguous inference. In both the jury must use its experience with people and events in weighing the probabilities. “

Circumstantial Evidence in Criminal Trials

Circumstantial evidence is still evidence.  It is treated no differently than direct evidence.  A jury is required to consider all admissible evidence when deliberating.  The amount of weight that the jury gives to each piece of evidence is for the jury to decide.  The law does not require a jury to disregard or give less weight to circumstantial evidence.  In fact, quite frequently, the circumstantial evidence in a case can be more convincing than the direct evidence.

Ft. Lauderdale criminal attorney, Michael Dye, has extensive experience handling cases involving complex forensic evidence including. For more information concerning your specific situation, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525