Civil Liberties

Brickbat: Say What?


The California Supreme Court has ruled that what you don't say can be used against you. The court reinstated the manslaughter conviction of Richard Tom, who killed an 8-year-old girl and injured her mother and sister in an automobile accident. Prosecutors had told jurors during his trial that his failure to ask about the condition of the family he hit, before he was read his Miranda rights, was proof of his guilt. In a divided opinion, the court ruled that a suspect must explicitly assert his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself for his silence to be inadmissible in court.