5th Amendment

If you’ve been arrested, and the police want to interrogate you, they will tell you that you have the right to remain silent.

How do you assert that right?

One way would be to say something like “I would like to remain silent.” Saying “I want a lawyer” should also stop the questioning.

But today, in Salinas v. Texas, the Supreme Court of the United States held that you do not assert your right to remain silent by remaining silent. If you want to remain silent, you’ll need to be prepared to talk about it.

No one will be surprised that this result came from the Justice least likely to be voted most beloved by those in our nation’s prison systems, Justice Alito.

Sort of….

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I’ll get you my little Iranian… and your little dog too.

The sins of the father should not be visited on the son. Honestly, if House Mystal was in Westeros (I think I know what sigil you think I should have), those would be our words. It’s awful when a whole family is shamed for the mistakes of one member. Nobody wants to be in the position of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s crazy uncle.

Thankfully, in civilized societies, we don’t hold children criminally responsible for the crimes of their forebears. That’s pretty much a bedrock principle of modern jurisprudence. Guilt by association might happen in the public sphere (sorry, Jeb Bush — I think everybody knows your brother, President Fredo, should have been passed over), but in the legal sphere, we have a little thing called “due process.”

It’s a constitutional principle Representative Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had to be reminded of yesterday…

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Jodi Arias

* A bipartisan immigration reform bill made its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee and will head to the Senate floor. Of course, the amendments in support of gay marriage didn’t make it in, but that may be moot soon anyway. [CNN]

* IRS official Lois Lerner may not be very “good at math,” but at least she seems to know the basic principles of constitutional law. She’ll invoke her Fifth Amendment rights before the House Oversight Committee today. [Politico]

* The D.C. Circuit ruled that the top secret Osama bin Laden death photos will remain top secret, but the internet’s desperate cries of “pics or it didn’t happen” will live on in our hearts. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Attention naysayers: it may be time to face the music. According to the latest Altman Weil survey, most law firm leaders think all of these fun recession-driven changes are here to stay. [Am Law Daily]

* Twenty-two law firms are banding together to fight against fraudulent financial products on a worldwide scale. It’s too bad this legal alliance didn’t exist before the Bernie Madoff scandal. [New York Times]

* It looks like New Jersey may soon be hopping aboard the “pro bono work before bar admission” train. You better hope you get your clinic placements in order, people. [New Jersey Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* The results for the February 2013 bar exam in California are out, and they’re frightening. It’s time to try that acting thing again, because only 41 percent of all test takers passed the exam. [The Recorder]

* Jodi Arias is now begging jurors to allow her to live out the rest of her days in prison. She wants to contribute to society by painting, recycling, and… not slashing additional throats. Lovely. [Fox News]


This is the kind of story that sounds unbelievable — until you realize that it’s dealing with the people who run Utah. The WSJ Law Blog reports:

Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government’s most valuable parcels.

A state is invoking the Takings Clause against the federal government? This reminds me of the time I came home and my dog told me to get off the couch. Sure, I was surprised that my dog was (a) talking and (b) ordering me off my own property. And so I resolved, right then and there, to never drop acid again.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what the hell Utah lawmakers are smoking …

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