Impeaching Defendant's Credibility by Referring to His Pre-Arrest Silence If He Testifies at His Trial
Can a Prosecutor Impeach a Defendant's Credibility by Referring to His Pre-Arrest Silence if He Waives His Right to Remain Silent and Testifies at His Trial ?
In Commonwealth v. Bolus, 545 Pa. 103, 680 A.2d 839 (1996), the appellant, Robert C. Bolus, argued that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to questions regarding his pre-arrest failure to cooperate in the police investigation.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held "that when a criminal defendant waives his right to remain silent and testifies at his own trial, neither the United States Constitution nor the Pennsylvania Constitution prohibit a prosecutor from impeaching a defendant's credibility by referring to his pre-arrest silence.
Because in the instant matter appellant Bolus had testified at his trial, he has waived any right to complain that the prosecutor had impermissibly commented on his pre-arrest silence." Bolus, supra at 114, 680 A.2d at 844.