Civil Rights

T-Shirt Tuesday: Get Your Miranda Rights On Your Chest

|

One week ago, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that changed the way Miranda rights work. Silence is no longer an adequate indication you wish to invoke your right to remain silent, thus triggering an end to police interrogation. Instead, an accused person "who wants to invoke his or her right to remain silent [must] to do so unambiguously." Read Reason's Steve Chapman on the case here.

Tom W. Bell of the Technology Liberation Front blog has responded sartorially:

I guess that you could say the Berghuis majority took a cue from the (so-called) libertarian paternalists and engaged in some legal nudging. In this case, however, the Court nudged our defaults away from individual liberty and toward prosecutorial power. Call it statist paternalism.

Thanks, Supremes, for giving us worse than nothing. Ah, well. As I read Berghuis, even the justices in the majority would not deny us the opportunity to answer their new default with a firm "No!" Thus might we recover our Constitutional rights with a t-shirt.

and if I want to show you my tatas, I will do that expressly and consensually as well

Buy your shirt here.

NEXT: The Legal Case Against ObamaCare

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Good morning reason!

    That is some alt-txt I can agree with. The text too.

  2. This shirt is a little more sophisticated than my “Fuck off and die copper!” or “Bad cop no doughnut!” shirts.

    I might be able to use this for those classy evenings out.

  3. Is this really a problem? You can _still_ remain silent, but the police may keep asking you questions. Until you ask them to stop. So, by breaking your silence, you (in effect) can get the police to be silent too.

    I think it’s okay to call oneself a libertarian and not be worked up about this ruling.

    1. See the other thread. Rights exist by default, you dont have to declare them.
      Once you have declared your rights, the cops stop questioning. However, since they exist by default, they shouldnt be able to question at all into you waive them.

      As an example that was pointed out in that thread, what I suggested above is exactly how the military handles it. They present you with a paper than you can sign to waive your rights. If you dont waive them, they dont question you.

      1. This is my thought too. Why do the police get to question you in the first place? Shouldn’t you have to give express permission to allow them to question you? Shouldn’t the default be that you don’t have to submit to questioning unless you permit it?

        1. I have no idea. yes. yes.

        2. Common law Constable’s right to inquiry?

        3. Shouldn’t the default be that you don’t have to submit to questioning unless you permit it?

          You’re talking about just cops here, right, and possibly just about self-incrimination, not about being subpoenaed in court to testify about someone else or about various facts of a case?

          The guy in question was always free to not answer. He did answer some questions, which he shouldn’t have.

          The bigger problem for him wasn’t that the cops were asking questions per se, it’s that he was in custody. If this is just about the cops stopping interrogation, well, that would hardly deal with the entire issue unless you address how long cops can take someone into custody.

        4. Why do the police get to question you in the first place? Shouldn’t you have to give express permission to allow them to question you? Shouldn’t the default be that you don’t have to submit to questioning unless you permit it?

          Ummm, when they try to take you in for an interrogation at the station house, you decline the “privilege” right there. If you’re not under arrest, don’t go.

          If you’re under arrest, the first and only words out of your mouth should be, “I want a lawyer. I do not consent to any questioning.”

      2. Rights exist by default, you don’t have to declare them.

        IANAL but my understanding is that while the expression may be “the right to remain silent” the underlying constitutional right is “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. I see no possible interpretation creating a right to not be questioned. There may be an underlying social compulsion to answer but certainly no obligation.

        1. Legally, I don’t think you have a right to remain silent if the 5th doesn’t apply. Such as when you’re asked questions about the activity of others.

          1. Legally, I don’t think you have a right to remain silent if the 5th doesn’t apply.

            What are the consequences if you do refuse to answer? You are not “entitled” to a Miranda warning if you are just being questioned anyway, correct?

            1. Miranda is about being questioned and you should be entitled to it prior to being questioned.

  4. When a pychiatric survivor tells a psychiatric he wants to exercise his right to remain silent, the psychiatrist just lists that comment as a symptom of illness and locks the guy up.

  5. Has anyone put my design into application yet?

    “Interaction with the wearer of this shirt constitutes consent to be recorded.”

    1. Awesome! Wear that when you meet Miranda Rights and sell the movies. Are police torture videos coming back yet?

  6. So just out of curiosity, I am legitimetally looking for an answer to this. Regardelss of what is though about the merits of meranda rights, where were these derived from constitutionally in the first place?

    1. Legitimetally, are rights derived from the constipation proclamation which denuded are hypes and aspirations.

    2. Rights arent derived from the constitution at all.

      That one was easy. Next.

      1. im not saying they are nor am i against miranda rights. I’m just curious as to where constitutionally is was deemed to be a right.

        1. It was made up out of thin air, like Roe v. Wade.

          It was a GOOD case of judicial activism not based on what was actually written in the Constitution, but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the police have to read you some specific rights you have.

          SCOTUS just made it up.

    3. where were these derived from constitutionally in the first place?

      IIRC, it was from a SC decision where a killer was interrogated before being told he didn’t have to answer any questions. He incriminated himself, but the evidence was thrown out. The victim’s name was Miranda. Again, this is from elementary school that I remember this, so it’s a bit fuzzy.

      1. Arizona.

        1. I’m pretty sure sage was referring to the “Supreme Court”, not “South Carolina”, or any other state with those initials.

          1. Whoops. I’m moving to SC shortly, so it’s been on my mind.

          2. I should have written SCOTUS, but I’m lazy like that.

      2. Look up : Miranda versus Arizona.

      3. Sage, they are trying to trick you. Miranda Rights was an actress from Idaho.

        1. But did her best work in San Fernando valley.

          1. thread winner

        2. Wasn’t she that lady with the crazy fruit basket on her head?

          1. That’s her sister, Karma Miranda

            1. You should be whipped for that one.

      4. If you check the wikipedia page on Miranda versus Arizona, you’ll find that things did not go awfully well for Miranda in real life.

        All the SC decision got him was a new trial sans the confession. The prosecution was still able to muster enough evidence and witnesses to get a conviction for kidnapping and rape (not a killing) and a twenty year stretch.

        He was stabbed to death in an altercation in the mid 70s, a couple off years after he was paroled.

        All in all, a look at his life shows that Miranda was a nasty individual who lived a brutish and short life.

        However constitutional protections are not reserved solely for attractive, likeable and popular people; the ugly and rejected tend to need them more.

    4. It’s from the Miranda Clause in the Constitution that says the police must tell you what your rights are because how else would you know to shut the hell up and ask for a lawyer when you get arrested? Common sense? Nope.

    5. So just out of curiosity, I am legitimately looking for an answer to this. Regardless of what is though about the merits of Miranda rights, where were these derived from constitutionally in the first place?

      Fifth Amendment:
      No person shall … be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…

  7. So now we’re taking legal advice from boobs? Great…

    1. Better than taking it from White House Counsel.

      1. Kagan? You’re damn skippy.

      2. Better than Same as taking it from White House Counsel.

        I mean, we are talking about boobs here, right?

    2. When have boobs ever led you wrong?

      1. The pair under my shirt are larger than they appear.

        1. nice set…

          1. *blushes* aw, daddy

            1. The Creepy Meter is reading off the chart, captain!

  8. Didn’t Scalia piss on that shirt recently?

  9. Dear Katherine Mangu-Ward:
    I like that you don’t even bother with her face. If a guy did that there’d be a complaint to HR.

  10. Silence is no longer an adequate indication you wish to invoke your right to remain silent…

    You can’t “invoke” without speaking or communicating, idiot.

    1. What action do you have to perform to “invoke” your other constitutional rights? Or is it the case that you simply have them and can waive them only by specific act or pronouncement?

      1. What does it matter what I think about that? I took issue with KMW’s framing of the issue, which is absurd facially. I’ve heard a few other people make the same mistake.

      2. You simply have rights. The police can’t force you to speak — at all.

        If their questioning in the face of your silence gets annoying, Miranda clarifies you can make them STFU by requesting a lawyer.

    2. Remaining silent in the face of questions is a clear communication, idiot.

    3. Remaining silent in the face of questions is a clear communication, idiot.

  11. While I do enjoy people getting agitated about their rights,

    I think SCOTUS got this one right. Both on the text of the Constitution, and on Planet Reality.

    By sitting there and not demanding that the interrogation end, you give implied consent to continued interrogation. If you think a movie sucks and want a refund from the theater, you don’t watch it all the way to the end, and then demand your refund.

    By answering a question during an interrogation, you waive your right not to incriminate yourself.

    1. The question is whether an interrogation whould even occur until you waive your right.

      What is wrong with the military approach?

    2. “”By answering a question during an interrogation, you waive your right not to incriminate yourself.””

      You can invoke your right at any time, but it’s not retroactive.

    3. “By answering a question during an interrogation, you waive your right not to incriminate yourself”

      If you mean answering a question that incriminates you I agree, however just answering any question doesn’t waive your rights.

      Officer: How’s it going?
      Suspect: Okay I guess.
      Officer: Oh, so you’ve waived your right to remain silint, thanks. Now you longer have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.

      Somehow I don’t think it works like that.

      I think the SCOUTS got this one right also, but for the wrong reasons. This guy didn’t deserve an appeal because he never said he wanted to remain silent. He didn’t deserve an appeal because he didn’t remain silent.

      1. Agreed.

    4. You waive your right not to incriminate yourself if you choose to say something that incriminates yourself.

      The best way to avoid that is to not say anything at all.

    5. “Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it’s mistakes.”

      That is about the complete 180 as to why “Miranda” came to be, sad for the country.

  12. According to this humorous Venn diagram I can see and you can’t, there’s a significant overlap between people stupid enough to talk to the cops and people stupid enough to pay $20 for a shirt from Zazzle.

    If you’re hatching a criminal conspiracy 6 to 8 weeks from now, the guy who shows up wearing this shirt is a fed.

  13. Silence is no longer an adequate indication you wish to invoke your right to remain silent, thus triggering an end to police interrogation.

    You mean, “occasionally answering some questions but not others but being generally uncooperative is no longer an adequate indication you wish to invoke your right to remain silent,” right?

    1. So you agree he was silent at times?

    2. Under even the looser approach, the first question he refused to answer should have ended the interrogation. The silence to even one question was a declaration of his rights.

      1. Just becase someone doesn’t answer a particular question doesn’t mean they will not answer a different question. If you want to invoke your 5th amendment right, you should do so. That tells them your intent opposed to cops guessing. I agree you should be the one to invoke your right, but I also agree you should have a right to be informed of your rights prior to being questioned.

        1. If you want to invoke your 5th amendment right, you should do so.

          This is bullshit. If you want to waive your rights, you should do so, otherwise it should be assumed you are invoking them and no interrogation.

          The default position should be invoking your rights.

          1. So if the suspect says nothing, they can’t ask him any questions? What if he hasn’t said anything and they ask “are you remaining silent?” And he still says nothing.

            It’s pretty hard to have an across-the-board, absolute rule that applies neatly and easily in every single possible permutation of facts.

            They have to at least be able to ask the guy *some* questions. Not every single question is potentially incriminating.

            1. It’s pretty hard to have an across-the-board, absolute rule that applies neatly and easily in every single possible permutation of facts.

              Sure there is:

              Did he sign the piece of paper waiving his rights? Yes? Okay, interrogate him.

              No? Dont interrogate him.

              Neat and Easy.

              1. so now Miranda warnings need to be in writing?

                lol

                1. They have been in writing for a long time. Not for you to wave them of course, but for cops to remember what they are.

  14. Mr. Gorbachev tear down this shirt!

  15. Lionel Hutz: Your Honor, my client clearly and expressly invoked his rights…

    Prosecutor: Objection! Mr. Simpson didn’t invoke his rights, he was wearing a “No Fat Chicks” T shirt.

    Homer Simpson: Woo Hoo!

    1. (cut to jury box filled with obese women muttering in anger)

      Homer : D’oh!

  16. I remember on at least one popular crime drama that I watch, at the end of the Miranda warning they asked if the suspect wished to wave this right. I don’t remember which show, but I’m thinking it was Sheriff Lobo.

    1. I’d give you a +1 but that’s Suki’s shtick.

  17. I like the approach signing a document declaring that one waives one’s rights. This is more due to the fact that the police really can’t be trusted than an idea that being silent expresses a desire not to answer questions. Cop sits there and asks a dozen benign questions then drops the “Did you kill your wife because she was cheating on you?” The guy caught off guard, says she wasn’t cheating, cop keeps pressing, etc. It’s established that the cops are allowed to lie to you, so forgive me if I’m more than a little hesistant to assume some other trickery. I don’t see a down side to a written & signed, or video taped “I wish to answer questions,” prior to any conversation with them.

    Your average cop doesn’t want to be Andy Griffith, he wants to be Horatio Caine. Screw him and his one liners.

    1. This. Simple and eliminates a significant proportion of possible abuse. Only a prosecutor could possibly oppose it.

    2. I don’t see a down side to a written & signed, or video taped “I wish to answer questions,” prior to any conversation with them.

      Any conversation? Or just conversations within precinct houses where the suspect is clearly in a custodial situation?

    3. I like the approach signing a document declaring that one waives one’s rights.

      You CAN’T fucking waive your rights permanently. You can only waive them for a particular question by speaking, and the instant you stop uttering words, even in the middle of a sentence, you have those rights back again. And you can never waive your right to a lawyer.

      So, please, tell us how that document alienating your inalienable rights should be worded?

    4. So cops should be able to put a piece of paper in front of a scared, anxious person who may or may not even be arrested and say “Sign here, you can go home after”, and that person can inadvertently waive their rights? You honestly don’t see any downsides to that?

  18. So, I don’t get it: If ignorance of the law is not a defense, why wouldn’t Miranda have gone to jail? Him not knowing that he didn’t have to talk is hardly the fault of the cops. He should have known the law (his rights) WITHOUT them having to tell him.

    Why is my theory wrong, and is there a slippery slope in it? It kinda feels like there is, but I’m not smart enough to see it.

    1. It’s not a defense to breaking a law, but it is a defense if you aren’t allowed to exercise your rights.

      1. And that’s the part I don’t get: He IS allowed to exercise his rights. That he doesn’t know what those rights are is hardly the cops fault, and why should the cops be required to tell him?

        After all, if the cops are allowed to lie during questioning, why couldn’t they lie (via omission) about his Miranda rights, or just lie outright and say those rights don’t apply to him?

  19. That t-shirt is every bit as annoying and smug as those overpriced Visualize Whirled Peas shirts the PBS catalogs sell.

    1. End the violins!

      1. That one too.

  20. But what if the suspect is mute?

    1. Taser takes care of that.

  21. Ve haff vays of makink zem talk.

  22. This is not a comment.

  23. 0

  24. There’s no men’s version? Oh well.

  25. Agree with the holding of that case, this post is stupid. When he started talking he waived his rights.

    The right always exists, he doesn’t have to “claim” it, but when he takes some action that unavoidably expresses a waiver of that right, such as SPEAKING, then the right doesn’t apply. He had the right to sit there in silence until the cows came home, he waived it.

    1. Further, even if you waive the right to remain silent by answering a particular question, you still retain your right to remain silent for all further questions. You still retain the right to request a lawyer at any time.

      You ALWAYS have those rights during an interrogation. You can’t permanently waive those rights during an interrogation.

  26. The cops have the First Amendment right to go around asking people stuff.

    You have the First Amendment right to ignore their questions, and walk away unless they take you into custody, at which point you have the Fifth Amendment right to demand a lawyer, thus ending any further questions.

    If the cops can’t ask anyone any questions at all unless they get express written permission from people to do so, how are the police to conduct investigations? Walk around silently handing Miranda warning sheets to be signed by people who are not suspects but might have useful information that would lead to finding the perps? Who in their right mind would talk to the police in that situation?

  27. We have the right to remain silent even before we are placed under arrest. It is important to do so when talking to the police because nothing can be used for you, only against you. Anything to be used for you is dismissed as hearsay.
    DON”T TALK TO COPS End of discussion

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.