Michael O'Neill

Document Type


First Page

E. Supp. 85


In Berghuis v. Thompkins, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in order to invoke the right to remain silent during a custodial interrogation, a criminal suspect must do so clearly and unambiguously. The Court also held that the Thompkins suspect’s conduct during his interrogation— remaining mostly silent for almost three hours before offering three one word responses—was sufficient to indicate waiver of his right to remain silent. This Comment argues that these holdings serve to curtail the rights established in Miranda v. Arizona, in line with the recent direction of the Court’s jurisprudence with respect to custodial interrogations. This Comment further argues that, although Thompkins’s dual holdings will abridge the constitutional rights of all criminal suspects, they will even more substantially curtail the rights of minority populations in the United States.