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Attorney Heath D. Harte Issues Statement on Miranda Rights after Lapse in Denver Results in Overturned Conviction

Attorney Heath D. Harte issued a statement today about Miranda Rights in the wake of a story out of Denver, where, according to reports, a man charged with murder had his conviction overturned due to a lapse by police who failed to properly mirandize him.

According to a report from the Denver Post (Saudi man’s murder conviction in Denver overturned on Miranda lapse, 1/22/2014), a federal judge overturned the 2004 conviction of a Denver man who was charged with murder after ruling that officers had failed to properly inform him of his right to remain silent.
According to the report, police took only 18 seconds to read the man his Miranda rights.
In light of the news, Heath D. Harte issued a statement about an individual’s right to remain silent.

“The case in this report displays a regrettable lapse in duty by the officers involved, but gives us an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about a tenet of the Miranda Rights that is often misunderstood,” said Harte. “In order to invoke the right to say nothing, an interviewee must explicitly state that they are not speaking because they are invoking their right to silence. Otherwise, pursuant to Salinsa v. Texas, (133 S. Ct. 2174 (2013)), their silence could be interpreted as an admission of guilt.”

According to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, American citizens have the privilege against self-incrimination, which includes the option of saying nothing when arrested as a criminal suspect. Also known as, the Miranda Rights, the Fifth Amendment triggered the decision that officers must tell arrestees that:

  • What they say can be used against them in court
  • They have the right to consult with a lawyer
  • A lawyer can be present during questioning
  • A lawyer will represent them free of cost if they can’t afford one, and
  • If they decide to answer police questions, they can stop the interview at any time.

“Officers must recite the Miranda Rights when they interrogate someone they consider to be in custody,” said Harte. “Interrogation can include anything, words or actions, which police officers use to elicit an incriminating response from a suspect. In addition, “in custody” means that a reasonable person would not feel free to leave in that situation.”
“Law enforcement officers have a responsibility to follow proper procedure when reading a suspect their rights, but the potential for a misstep on their part does not mean that people should be ignorant of their rights,” said Harte. “Failing to verbalize your intention to remain silent could wind up very badly for you if you find yourself in the wrong situation.”
About the Law Offices of Heath D. Harte
With over 25 years of experience, the Law Offices of Heath D. Harte is a full service law firm concentrating in Criminal Law, Personal Injury Law, Estate Planning, and Real Estate. While traditional in service and style, with smart use of experience and leveraging state of the art technology to streamline services, the firm cuts out excessive overhead usually associated with law firms. Lower overhead means that the firm can offer the same service one expects from a prestigious law firm, like the Law Offices of Heath D. Harte, at lower, more affordable costs to clients. The firm’s ultimate goal is to provide aggressive, reliable and effective legal representation at an affordable price. The firm also offers creative fee structures to accommodate clients’ needs, especially in today’s economic climate.

To learn more about The Law Offices of Heath D. Harte locations and services contact us at (203) 724-9555 or email.

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