Salinas v. Texas

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: January 12, 2013
  • Case #: 12-246
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, 369 S.W.3d 176 (2012)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether, or under what conditions, prearrest, pre-Miranda silence is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

A murder investigation led police officers to arrest and question Petitioner regarding a double homicide. After an hour of complete cooperation, police asked Petitioner whether a shotgun found at Petitioner’s home “would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder” and Petitioner became silent, allegedly demonstrating signs of deception. Following a mistrial, the State introduced Petitioner’s silence as evidence of guilt, and Petitioner was subsequently convicted of murder.

The Texas Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, and, upon discretionary review, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas again affirmed. The court stated that “The plain language of the Fifth Amendment protects a defendant from compelled self-incrimination [and that during] pre-arrest, pre-Miranda circumstances, a suspect’s interaction with police officers is not compelled.” (Emphasis in original).

In Jenkins v. Anderson, 447 US 231 (1980) the Supreme Court held that using prearrest, pre-Miranda silence to impeach a defendant did not violate the Constitution, and the Court granted certiorari here to determine whether prearrest, pre-Miranda silence may be used against a non-testifying defendant.

On appeal Petitioner argues that he can invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege regardless of whether he is in custody or has been advised of his Miranda rights.

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