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Can Michigan police keep asking questions if a suspect is silent?

Lawyers know about Miranda rights after a Supreme Court case required law enforcement to inform arrested suspects of rights to silence and legal representation. One of the complications of this law occurred in the Wolverine State, leading to the historic case of Michigan v. Moseley.

What are the details of the case?

A man was arrested in Detroit on suspicion of a string of robberies. He was informed of his right to remain silent, which he then invoked. A police officer later asked him questions about a homicide after informing him of his right to silence again. The suspect then made incriminating statements which were used as evidence in the case.

Why does it matter?

The legal question was whether the suspect's rights were violated by the later questioning. The Michigan appellate court held that the second informing of the suspect's rights by the new interrogator, as well as the wait time between questioning sessions, did not violate his rights to silence or the presence of an attorney.

What does this mean to criminal suspects?

It means that an investigator or prosecutor may shift to a new line of questioning even after a suspect has invoked his or her right to silence. Interrogators may cover their bases by simply informing people of their rights again and giving them the choice to speak or not.

Do I need a lawyer if I am suspected of a crime?

It is always a good idea to wait for an attorney during questioning, whether a suspect has been placed under arrest or not. Suspects may be causing themselves problems if they volunteer information to police without consulting a lawyer.

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