Mar 18, 2009 The eternal mantra is “I want an attorney. I want an attorney…”
Police are well trained to break down people’s assertion of their Constitutional rights, including:
– "If you are innocent, why do you need an attorney, and at such unnecessary expense?"
– "If you have nothing to hide, why not pop open your trunk for me to have a look, so you can be on your way?"
– "If you refuse to let us search your house, we will get a warrant and tear the house apart worse than if you just let us in."
– "If you refuse to let us search your car, we will just have the drug dog come and tear your car apart."
Laypeople are no match for the cops. Give police an inch with searching, questioning, and waiving counsel, and they will find ways to get full mileage treading over your Constitutional rights. Therefore, the best answers to the foregoing police nudging are, respectively, "I will not answer any questions. I exercise my right to have a lawyer." "I refuse to be searched." (If you say "I do not agree to be searched", the police might claim you said "I agree to be searched.") "I refuse all searches." ""I refuse all searches."
What happens if a suspect asserts his or her right to have a lawyer, and the police continue asking the suspect questions? Suppression is necessary of all statements that follow the assertion of the right to counsel. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966); Minnick v. Mississippi, 498 U.S. 146 (1990), Virginia v. Redmond, 264 Va. 321, 328, 568 S.E.2d 695 (2002), cert. denied, 538 U.S. 930 (2003).
What happens if a suspect asserts his or her rights to remain silent? Suppression is necessary of all statements by the suspect that follow his or her asserting the right to remain silent. Miranda, 384 U.S. 436; Minnick, 498 U.S. 146, Redmond, 264 Va. 321.
What happens if the police say you have no right to a lawyer, no right not to be searched, and no right to remain silent? The best response is: "Am I free to leave?" If the police say yes, then leave. If the police say no, then remain silent.
Remaining silent with the police and refusing searches is not only golden, but platinum.