What would our justice system look like if everyone invoked their right to remain silent?
Wrongful Convictions News™
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
— Martin Luther King Jr.
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I know so many innocent people that could have saved themselves and/or their loved ones so much heartbreak, anguish, and financial and personal expense had they only invoked their rights.
If you cooperate with the police and answer their questions, there is a high probability that they will turn your words around and use them to fashion a scenario that fits their agenda.
Sure, if you don't answer any of their questions, they can say that you must have something to hide because of your lack of cooperation. So it really doesn't seem to matter if you cooperate or not, if they are just going to spin it in their favor either way. Nevertheless, here's the difference, if you remain silent, at least you haven't handed them the ammo with which to load the proverbial smoking gun. The state has the burden of proof so let them. Don't do their job for them. Because make no mistake, despite the constitutional concept that deems you innocent until proven guilty, the deck is stacked against individuals who are suspected of committing a crime.
"From the moment you become a person of interest in a crime, you are vulnerable to a system that rewards convictions while offering no repercussions for wrongful convictions," according to the criminal defense team at O'Mara Law Group.
They go on to explain that "One of the most common mistakes accused individuals make is waiting too long to hire an attorney. Law enforcement is not required to read you your Miranda rights until they are ready to detain you, but you do have the same rights prior to this point." It can get a little tricky because, "When the police start questioning you, it is important to ascertain whether you are being questioned as a witness or a suspect," they add.
I can name countless innocent people who didn't hesitate to speak with law enforcement because they felt as though they were just being helpful. Unfortunately, too many times this kind of "innocent interview" later leads to them being charged with the same crime they thought they were helping to solve. They cooperated because they knew they were innocent and had nothing to hide, or so they thought.
Some ended up falsely confessing after hours of interrogation they didn't have to endure had they only invoked their rights. Some swore to false statements provided to them by law enforcement who needed evidence to fit their narrative and bolster their case. Some falsely confessed out of fear, some out of ignorance of the law and some were actually convinced they were caught flagrante delicto —but all of them ended up serving time for crimes they did not commit. Keep in mind, these people are not outliers or exceptions to the rule. A large portion of them were ordinary, law-abiding citizens. There is also a subgroup of wrongful convictions created by those who had no idea that law enforcement can unscrupulously yet legally lie to both witnesses and suspects alike, to reach their desired outcome.
When police questioning seems to go beyond what you saw and heard, you may be a person of interest…
How many people would be free right now if every single person ever questioned, interviewed, and/or interrogated by law enforcement invoked their rights before answering any questions posed by a government entity?
According to Liz
Franklin, founder & director of Wrongful
Convictions News™, "If you are ever questioned by the police for any
reason, the first words out of your mouth should be, 'Am I free to leave?' If
the answer is no, the second thing out of your mouth should be, 'I want an
"And teach it to your children—Practice it with them. It may one day save their [lives]…"
"Again, PLEASE practice at home so that if put in this situation, and by the way, none of us are immune, you and your loved ones will be confident enough & comfortable enough to know how to handle yourselves."
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https://www.omaralawgroup.com/lakeland/criminal-defense-lawyer/ for an explanation of your Constitutional rights and what is at stake in a criminal case. You'll also find some useful dos and don'ts that will help you avoid incriminating yourself.
"Most people find solace in being innocent but those who have been wrongfully accused know that innocence can sometimes be a perverted companion in our legal system. Unfortunately, most law-abiding citizens think that being wrongfully convicted couldn't possibly happen to them; that it only happens to those living on the fringes of society. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. It can, and has, happened to people from all walks of life. I'm reminded of acclaimed public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson, exoneree and champion of the wrongfully convicted, when he said, 'We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent.' So make no mistake, it can happen to you—no one is immune!"—Liz Franklin, founder and Director of Wrongful Convictions News™.
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