Home » Articles, Featured

The Truth Shall (Not) Set You Free

I recently read a letter written by an inmate who wrote that he knew that the truth shall set you free. He then went on to say that well, I told the truth and I’m still not free.

The United States and the Mississippi Constitutions give us the right to remain silent or, put another way, not to incriminate ourselves. The words we all hear on television and in the movies grew out of this right. The famous Miranda warnings tell someone being questioned by the police that: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at public expense.

It used to be basic good legal advice not to say anything or sign anything. Get an attorney.  Advising someone what to do when the police ask questions has gotten more complicated in recent times.

While it is still a pretty good bet that the truth shall not set you free, at least not without the assistance of an attorney, not saying anything may not be enough. In Berghuis v. Thompkins, the United States Supreme Court now says that a suspect must speak up to invoke Miranda rights.

So, don’t say nothing. Say I want an attorney and I don’t want to talk to you without an attorney.  Say it in response to any and all questions. I want an attorney and I don’t want to talk to you without an attorney.

The limits on what and when the police can question someone have likewise expanded. The police do not have to tell the truth. After a suspect asserts his Miranda rights, under certain circumstances, the police can start questioning him again.

So, no matter what the question and no matter what the threat, the answer is I want an attorney and I don’t want to talk to you without an attorney.