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Your refusal to talk to the cops stays out of evidence, but your refusal of a blood alcohol test does not

Jan 07, 2009 Your refusal to talk to the cops stays out of evidence, but your refusal of a blood alcohol test does not

Bill of Rights (From public domain.)

Yesterday I blogged that refusing a search is inadmissible at trial. So is refusing to talk with the cops. Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610 (1976); U.S. v. Hale, 422 U.S. 171 (1975); Grier v. Maryland, 351 Md. 241, 718 A.2d 211 (1998).

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court does not afford a Fifth Amendment or any other Constitutional right to bar the jury from knowing that a drunk driving defendant refused a blood alcohol test. South Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553 (1983); Stevenson v. District of Columbia, 562 A.2d 622 (D.C. 1989). That makes no sense. Refusing a blood alcohol test is a communication. Refusal to communicate with the police is at the very heart of the Fifth Amendment. Hopefully Neville will be overturned. Jon Katz.

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