By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If you are arrested or questioned by police, you have the right to remain silent, otherwise known as your Miranda rights. But can your silence be used against you?
When Manaf Stas went out drinking with his buddy, the unfortunately named Joseph Putz, the two, who were drunk, drove home from a Patterson, New Jersey bar and hit a parked car. Putz told police at the scene that Stas had asked Putz to drive Stas’ car because Stas was too drunk to drive. Stas remained silent during the interrogation and was later convicted of allowing a person under the influence to drive his vehicle. But he hadn’t told the police that – he simply remained silent during the police investigation.
If you went to law school – or more importantly, watch tv – you know you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can and will be held against you. Is the fact that you don’t say anything held against you too?
The answer is no. A jury can’t imply guilt from your silence. A New Jersey judge threw out Stas’ conviction.
Even so, hopefully both Putzes will know next time that they should speak to a cab driver to take them home.