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If Interrogated, How Do You Assert Your Right to Remain Silent in Today's World?

For a number of years people believed that the Fifth Amendment Right to Remain silent was sacred. However, this appears to be changing with new decisions from the United States Supreme Court.

I recently attended a legal seminar where Professor James Duane was one of the speakers, and the title of his lecture was "The Perils of Communicating With The Police: What Every American Needs To Know About The Fifth Amendment." Initially, Professor Duane appeared to be radical in his views, but as I listened, I realized that this professor was passionate about communicating this message to every man or woman who may be subjected to police questioning. Without going too far into the law, the Right to Remain Silent is being erroded and may end up being obsolete. Today, some jurisdictions are taking the view, if you assert your right to remain silent, this is evidence of guilt. Alternatively, some jurisdictions are mandating that individuals articulate a reason for their silence, but stating that reason can incriminate an individual. For example, if a person states "I am asserting my right to remain silent on the basis that I have a right not to incriminate myself." As crazy as it sounds, some courts are now holding that this is a sufficient acknowlegement of guilt.

The bottom line is, Professor Duane now recommends that people being interrogated, should only say the word "lawyer" and to say it often. Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer, lawyer...........

Finally, Professor Duane has a book you can purchase online. It is titled "You Have A Right To Remain Innocent." I have ordered a box of these books to provide to clients.

This method of dealing with the police has not yet been tested in the courts, but it appears to address the risks associated with the diluted language previously thought to protect people. Notwithstanding this advice, repeating "lawyer, lawyer, lawyer..." would also take a lot of strength and will-power too, and probably under difficult circumstances.

If you believe you are going to be charged with a serious felony, and you have not been questioned by the police, it may be helpful to role-play with an attorney to learn how to deal with an interrogation.