Miranda Changes in 2010 Case of Berghuis v. Thompkins

Question: What are some of the changes that the U.S. Supreme Court made to Miranda in the 2010 case of Berghuis v. Thompkins?

Answer: Well, in Berghuis v. Thompkins, it’s not so much they made changes as much as they kind of clarified or changed some of the rules involved. You still have the right to remain silent, but what they’ve done in this case is they have said that remaining silent is not the same as invoking your right to silence. And so, if you have been given your Miranda warnings and you understand your Miranda warnings and you just stay silent, that itself is not invoking your right to remain silent.

In this particular case, it was a gentleman charged with murder, and he remained silent—he was read his Miranda rights, he apparently understood them, and then he was questioned for almost three hours or right at three hours, and during those three hours he barely said a word.

The court even went on to say it was like a monologue. At the end of the three hours, the police officers changed their tactics and went into a spiritual type of attack, saying, “Do you believe in God?” “Did you pray to God?” And, “Did you pray to God to forgive you for shooting the victim?” He answered yes to each of those. And the court said because he had not invoked his right, that those statements were OK.

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