Posts Tagged ‘SCOTUS’
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, SCOTUS came down with a decision today regarding the Berghuis v Thompkins case. Thompkins was suspected of murder, read his Miranda rights, and remained silent for three hours while being questioned. He was asked if he prayed for forgiveness for “shooting that boy down,” he answered “Yes.”
Long story short, he was convicted of murder then appealed the decision because he says his right to remain silent was violated by the continued interrogation – even though he sat silently for three hours. His appeal was heard and conviction overturned – then it went to SCOTUS to decide.
First – I don’t see how his rights were violated since he specifically answered the question after three hours of silence. He could easily have requested an attorney and the interrogation would have stopped. The fact that he confessed rather than remain silent is his own undoing.
However, what pisses me off the most is the latest SCOTUS decision regarding this case – RARELY will you ever find me agree with a liberal – especially Sotomayor – but – the conservatives on the bench got this one completely wrong.
Here is what Kennedy said about this case
“Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk to police,” Kennedy said. “Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his ‘right to cut off questioning.’ Here he did neither, so he did not invoke his right to remain silent.”
Here is what Sotomayor said in the dissent
“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent – which counterintuitively, requires them to speak,” she said. “At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded.”
Holy crap! I agree with her! Here is what the Miranda states:
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 a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.
These rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. The Miranda ruling only confirmed that arresting officers have to inform you of your constitutionally guaranteed rights.
So – to backtrack here – let’s get this straight… I have the right to remain silent…it says so right there in the Miranda. I am being questioned and I sit silently during the entire questioning. I have already stated I understood my rights. I have explicitly expressed my right to remain silent by… wait for it…. being silent.
The infinite wisdom of the conservative idiots on SCOTUS now say I have to violate my guaranteed right to remain silent in order to state that I want to remain silent? WTF? As Sotomayor pointed out – once you have spoken, you have implicitly stated you do not want to invoke your right to remain silent. By speaking to say you want to invoke your right to silence is actually telling the police you have already denied yourself that right by not being silent!
Thompkins should go to jail because he confessed. He could have remained silent forever. He didn’t have to tell the police he killed that kid – but – he did. His conviction should not be overturned because his right to remain silent was violated – hell – he violated that himself by speaking up. But – this idiot decision by SCOTUS is just that – idiotic. The invoked right of silence does not “cut off questioning” as Kennedy is assuming. The invoked right to remain silent just means the suspect will remain silent. If the suspect wants to have the questioning cut off – he needs to ask for a lawyer.
Hell must be freezing over for me to side with the liberal judge for once.
This is a re-post from My Journey, a Personal Finance Blogger, who sometimes feels the need to voice his poltical views. Whether or not you agree with his views you should check out his site, My Journey to Millions,or subscribe to his Feed.
Despite writing a personal finance blog, I enjoy chatting up politics and I think I have been very open about my political views, which are basically libertarian in nature. I generally believe the government is a necessary evil and as such I want to keep it as small as possible. The way I look at it I don’t want the government involved in my business affairs as much as I do not want them inhibiting what I (and the founding fathers) consider inalienable rights (by the way I just wrote that Retirement is not an inalienable right).
I dislike the idea of affirmative action in this Country in the year 2009, and truly believe how it is used today is not what Congress and the Supreme Court envisioned those many years ago.
Imagine sitting in a Constitution Law II class with half the room being women, a good portion of them Black, and a liberal liberal Professor – and you are a white Christian Male and you raise your hand to talk about reverse discrimination of white males. It was a scary time for My Journey…but I didn’t care and neither should you. Well today I got some reprieve!
Ricci v. DeStefano – The New Haven 20
Today the United States Supreme Court gave their Opinion (read: Decision) in the case of Ricci v.DeStefano. (opens a .pdf file) The Case surrounds a group fondly known as the New Haven 20, a group of 20 Firefighters who studied their a** off and did well enough on a test to get promoted, but the City of New Haven decided to throw out the exam because no African Americans did well enough on it. Yeah read that over again, seems almost unreal.
The Wall Street Journal wrote today,
Writing for a 5-4 majority in Ricci v. deStefano, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the city of New Haven violated civil-rights law when it threw out firefighter promotional exams because more whites than blacks or Hispanics had passed the tests. New Haven claimed it had to junk the tests because certifying the results would lead to an avalanche of lawsuits by black candidates who hadn’t passed. In other words, the city claimed it had to intentionally discriminate against white candidates out of fear that the tests unintentionally had a “disparate impact” against minorities.
But the Court found no evidence that the tests were flawed or that better alternatives for promotion existed. On the contrary, employment tests are an important tool against the very kind of racial discrimination that civil-rights laws were designed to prevent. “Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer’s reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions,”
Justice Kennedy wrote. The Supremes created this “disparate impact” reverse discrimination incentive with its 1971 Griggs decision, since codified into law, but at least five Justices are still able to object to this kind of blatant racial injustice.
As a brother of a Firefighter (also white Christian Male) I have watched my brother study is butt off for the lieutenants’ test for the FDNY. My Brother has put as much work as I did for the New York State Bar Exam, and if my test was thrown out because some people, albeit minorities, did worse than me, I know I may be a ‘tad upset.’ Meanwhile, all this studying occurs while holding a full time job which includes running into burning buildings (as most law school graduates know – I didn’t do anything while studying for the bar except…study).
How this ruling will play out as we move forward will be interesting. Are we finally seeing an end to affirmative action? Probably not, but thankfully it may end the practice of just promoting minorities because of their ethnicity, color, and/or race (wow, doesn’t this seem like an MLK Speech?).
The Opinions (multiple Justices made statements) total about 93 pages, and were released Monday morning so I have not had the time read them, as such, I am not ready to start ripping on Sotomayor which has been going around the news lately. However, from the news stories I have read thus far, both the majority and dissent have been less than complimentary of the Supreme Court Nominee who was part of the lower court which was reversed.
Notwithstanding this post I don’t think a test would be fair if it only asked questions only whites knew the answer to, but that is notwhat happened in Ricci.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank MJTM for posting this over here. Great discussion – thoughts people?
Well, in case you haven’t heard – the Donofrio case from New Jersey was thrown out by SCOTUS today. I kinda figure it would be. That one had no merit whatsoever actually. Not really sure how that one got up that far. The premise in Donofrio’s case is that Obama is not a naturalized citizen because his father was born in Kenya. Not real sure how he came about with that if he’s conceding that Obama was born in Hawaii. He was also going after John McCain in that one.
The other case still out there is Phil Berg’s case. This is the one I’ve been following closely. We’ll see how that one goes. Based on everything I’ve read about Berg’s case – his might actually have enough in it to get heard. If you haven’t seen the Berg case – check out the related posts – and go to the link above to read everything there.
UPDATE 12/9/08 – I stand corrected. It seems there just might be some merit to the Donofrio case after all. John Kaduk from The Right Wing explains the Donofrio case, as well as some others, in a very different light.
Well – I have been following this pretty closely – but – it looks like someone else has been following it also – The Axis of Stevil has this posted up: Supreme Court To Have Closed Meeting On Obama’s Citizenship
So – to you guys on the left that think it’s a ruse – apparently, this does have merit considering its all the way up to the SCOTUS – AND – there are just as many Democrats pushing this as there are Republicans.
Then – there’s this report coming out today from the Chicago Tribune:
Suit contesting Barack Obama’s citizenship heads to U.S. Supreme Court Friday
Justices will decide whether to consider the case
So – stay tuned tomorrow people – we should have a decision whether or not this will at least be heard. Considering its made it up that far – there is still a good chance they will force Obama to release his birth certificate for actual inspection considering all the ones floating around on the Internet have proven to be fakes. Also, considering the electoral college convenes next week on the 13th to cast their votes – lets hope this gets resolved prior to then.
The fact of the matter is that it has not been absolutely 100% proven yet that he is indeed an American citizen. His school records from Indonesia have surfaced that indicates he’s an Indonesian citizen. You can’t have dual citizenship in Indonesia. For him to be an Indonesian citizen, he would have to denounce his American citizenship – which as a minor – his step-father had the authority to do so. There have been no official documents produced stating he has renounced his Indonesian citizenship. For those of you who think this is just semantics – this is a constitutional issue that must be resolved by the Supreme Court.