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Is Silence Admissible In Criminal Court?

A recent Kentucky Supreme Court decision has stated that your silence cannot be used against you.  This includes the playing of an interview tape where the defendant chooses to exercise his right to remain silent.  The case of Pamela Bartley v. Commonwealth 2012-SC-219 (Overruling Court of Appeals 2010-CA-001640-Me) was only handed down this week (10/21/14). The Court ruled that the prosecutor improperly played a tape of the Defendant remaining silent when asked questions by a detective. The court ruled that silence in the face of accusatory questioning was improperly used as an indicator of guilt. The court was divided, but the minority opinion was based on the balance of overwhelming evidence that they say outweighs any prejudice by playing of the tape. This new ruling has substantial effect on numerous cases where a defendant is questioned and jurors may use their silence as indicator of guilt. It is a MAJOR VICTORY for criminal defendants and proponents of the 5th Amendment Right to Remain Silent. Special Thanks to Derek Durbin and W. Robert Lotz, the appellate attorneys who won this particular case on appeal, for strongly advocating for his client and enlightening us all. I have had the distinct pleasure and honor to practice law with W. Robert Lotz for the past 15+ years and wish him well in his retirement.  If you need an attorney in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

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