Why Was Salinas Silence A True Exercise Of The Fifth Amendment?

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Key Facts: On December 18, 1992, two brothers were shot and killed in their Houston home after throwing a party the previous night. Police obtained six shotgun shells from the site and received a description of a potential suspect from a local neighbor. The investigation led the police to Salinas, who willingly agreed to relinquish his shotgun for ballistics testing and to accompany police for further questioning. The interview lasted approximately one hour, where both parties were later in agreement that Salinas was not detained nor was he read Miranda warnings. Salinas answered most questions during the interview, but fell silent when asked if “his shotgun ‘would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder.’” Upon receiving more…show more content…
Both courts affirmed the lower court’s judgment and rejected Salinas’ claim that his silence was used in chief violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Issue: Can one fairly conclude that an individual who agreed to be questioned has revoked the Fifth Amendment’s protection? Was Salinas’ silence a true exercise of this amendment?

Rule: The petitioner must specifically call on the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination at the time he relies on it in order to receive the benefit.

Decision: Salinas’ claim fails because he did not verbally invoke this Fifth Amendment privilege in his response to the officer’s questions. The lower court’s judgment is affirmed.

Reasoning: Certiorari was granted in the United States Supreme Court to resolve an appealed ruling from the lower courts to decide if a prosecutor may use a defendant’s silence as a claim against self-incrimination during a noncustodial police interview. As the petitioner did not verbally invoke the privilege of self-incrimination, it was found unnecessary to answer this specific claim, as the Fifth Amendment is a privilege against self-incrimination that should be expressly invoked by the defendant who desires the protection by claiming
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The first being that this case was accepted by the Supreme Court and second that this case took SIX years to reach a verdict. By reading the case it’s pretty evident that the defendant is guilty of the murder on the basis that he disappeared for 15 years after his interview before being found. What I don’t agree with is how long it took with all of the appeals to actually find him guilty. It seems unfair and unreasonable to have a case take this long especially if the person has a potential to be innocent. If Salinas was innocent, that’s six years he spent in jail that the court seems to have no regard for. As the Supreme Court only reviews 75 cases a year, how is it possible that this particular case took so long to review? The length of time is an unfortunate factor with this case, but it seems to be a common occurrence and a deciding factor when someone wants to sue. Everyone should have the right to get a decision quickly. It seems inhumane to do
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