Constitution taken by Beau B
You have a constitutional right to remain silent. Police are not allowed to ask you questions once you invoke this right. If you are in custody, the police are required to give you Miranda rights prior to asking you questions.
In many MA criminal cases people tend not to use their right to remain silent. Many times a person believes that they have nothing to hide so they should tell their side of the story. This is a mistake. Never talk to the police without a lawyer. In many cases, the strongest evidence against people is their confession.
Your Fifth Amendment rights or constitutional rights protect you against self incrimination or statements. A lot of people want to know if their case will be dismissed if they were not given their Miranda rights. In most cases, where a person didn’t make any statements and there is other evidence in the case, then the case won’t be dismissed. If your Miranda rights were violated, then only your statements can be suppressed. A violation of your Miranda rights will not suppress all the evidence in the case.
There is of course a gray area in the law. The gray area exists where a defendant has asserted their constitutional right to remain silent and right to an attorney. After the defendant’s assertion of their constitutional rights, the police make generalized statements without really asking questions. The purpose of the police statements could be seen as to provoke the defendant into saying something.
During a recent case the detective in Nancy Kerrigan’s brother case Mark Kerrigan was asked to testify in court. Essentially, after Mark Kerrigan asserted his right to remain silent and asked for a lawyer, the detective stated “I thought it’s only fair to let you know your father passed away this morning.” Mark Kerrigan stated, “so what does that mean? You are going to charge me with manslaughter?”
The defense sought to suppress Mark Kerrigan’s statement stating that the detective violated Kerrigan’s constitutional rights. The detective testified that he only told Kerrigan as a courtesy and not to provoke Kerrigan into making statements. This continues to be a gray area in the constitutional rights of MA citizens. It will be interesting to see how the law develops.