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Fifth Amendment Silent Jury 225

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether defendant’s constitutionally required 5th Amendment right to remain silent was violated at his jury trial?

Defendant was convicted of 2 counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct.  On appeal, defendant contended that the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial after a detective witness testified that defendant declined, post Miranda, to talk to investigators in violation of defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the detective’s disclosure to the jury that defendant had exercise his right to remain silent constituted an error, but held in was harmless error, claiming it was a lone statement in voluminous proceedings, and, a curative instruction was given.

State v. Rundles, A19-1601, Dakota County.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

COMMENTARY:  With all due respect, this decision needs to be reversed by the Minnesota Supreme Court.  There cannot be “harmless error” in these circumstances.  What does the 5th Amendment require?  That if you invoke your constitutional right to remain silent, your silence CANNOT be used against you in a court of law.  The 5th Amendment requires that no one, including the judge, prosecutor and witnesses, CANNOT comments on the invocation of a constitutional right.  This case is manifestly unconstitutional, and needs to be reversed.  We cannot allow bad facts to destroy our constitution.

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