In the recent case of Berghuis v. Thompkins [560 U.S.____(2010) (docket 08-1470)] the U.S. Supreme Court ruled five to four that persons being interviewed by the police are required to articulate their answers to the Miranda warning that they have the right to remain silent. The case originated when Van Chester Thompkins was being questioned about a shooting in which one person was killed. Instead of invoking his Miranda right to remain silent, Thompkins simply remained silent, which is what the warning seemed to be allowing him to do. In fact, he remained silent through two hours and forty-five minutes of questioning, at which point the detective asked him if he believed in God and prayed, to which Thompkins spoke for the first time, saying "yes." The detective then asked him, "Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting the boy down?" Thompkins again answered "yes," but refused to produce a written statement...More at Language Log.
In short, by being silent during the interrogation Thompkins did not invoke his right to remain silent, but he waived his right when he said "yes" to the detective's questions about religion. Kennedy added that the accused are required to talk in order to indicate their unwillingness to talk...
20 September 2010
"You have a right to remain silent..."