Friday, August 26, 2005

Arnold v. Runnels

No. 04-15194 (8-24-05). The 9th concludes that "no" means "no" when it comes to statements. Here, petitioner was asked questions. he responded. The police then asked if they could record. he said "no" emphatically. The police nonetheless turned on the recorder, and then proceeded to ask petitioner a long series of questions about the offense that he responded with "no comment." This was played before the jury. The 9th wondered what part of "no" the police didn't understand when it came to the recording: he invoked his right to silence at that point, and the the police to keep on questioning with the recorder running was a violation. The 9th found prejudice because the officer's questions connected the petitioner to the crime; it was like the officer testifying. The petitioner had presented a defense, and witnesses that placed him elsewhere. This fact -- other witnesses -- played in the dissent (Callahan), who argued that the jury heard other evidence, and that the guilt was overwhelming.


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