University of Chicago Law School
This paper concerns a well-known, but badly misunderstood, constitutional right. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees, inter alia, that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” For the non-lawyer, the Fifth Amendment protects an individual’s right to silence. Many Americans believe that the Constitution protects their right to remain silent when questioned by police officers or governmental officials. Three rulings from the Supreme Court over the past twelve years, Chavez v. Martinez (2003), Berghuis v. Thomkpins (2010) and Salinas v. Texas (2013), however, demonstrate that the “right to remain silent” that most Americans think they possess does not exist.
The Right to Silence v. The Fifth Amendment,
University of Chicago Legal Forum
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/225