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Supreme Court: Pre-Miranda silence can be used

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court says prosecutor can use a person’s silence against them in court if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent.

The 5-4 ruling comes in the case of Genovevo Salinas, who was convicted of a 1992 murder. During police questioning, and before he was arrested or read his Miranda rights, Salinas did not answer when asked if a shotgun he had access to would match up with the murder weapon.

Prosecutors in Texas used his silence on that question to convict him of murder, saying it helped demonstrate his guilt.

Salinas appealed, saying his Fifth Amendment rights to stay silent should have kept lawyers from using his silence against him. Texas courts disagreed, saying pre-Miranda silence is not protected from use by prosecutors.

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