Doyle vs Ohio - Significance

It is settled law that when a defendant presents an exculpatory version of the events for the first time at trial, it is fundamentally unfair and a denial of federal due process for the prosecution to introduce evidence to impeach the defendant of the defendant's postarrest silence following advisement under Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, of his or her right to remain silent. (Doyle v. Ohio (1976) 426 U.S. 610 at pp. 611, 619; People v. Coffman and Marlow (2004) 34 Cal.4th 1, 118.) Witkin explains that "if the defendant, after the Miranda warning that he or she may remain silent, does not speak, his or her silence (after the Miranda-implied assurance that it will not be used against the defendant) cannot be used to impeach the defendant's testimony at the trial. " (3 Witkin, Cal. Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Presentation At Trial, 321, p. 404.) In Doyle v. Ohio (1976) 426 U.S. 610, the defendants were charged with the sale of marijuana. Following their arrest, they exercised their right to remain silent after they were given Miranda warnings. (Doyle, supra, 426 U.S. at pp. 611-612.) At their respective trials, the defendants testified that they only tried to purchase the marijuana, and the seller had "framed" them. (Id. at pp. 612-613.) On cross-examination, the prosecutors asked the defendants why they had not told the frameup story to the police officer who arrested them and gave them the Miranda warnings. (Doyle at p. 613.) The United States Supreme Court held in Doyle that the use for impeachment purposes of the defendants' silence at the time of arrest, after they received Miranda warnings, violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution. (Doyle at p. 619.) Noting that silence in the wake of Miranda warnings may be nothing more than the arrestee's exercise of the Miranda rights, the Doyle court reasoned that "while it is true that the Miranda warnings contain no express assurance that silence will carry no penalty, such assurance is implicit to any person who receives the warnings." (Doyle at p. 618.) It is also settled law, however, that Doyle does not bar a prosecutor from cross-examining a defendant about a voluntary post-Miranda statement made by that defendant that is inconsistent with exculpatory testimony he or she gives at trial. (Anderson v. Charles (1980) 447 U.S. 404, 408 (Anderson).) In Anderson, the California Supreme Court explained that "Doyle does not apply to cross-examination that merely inquires into prior inconsistent statements. Such questioning makes no unfair use of silence because a defendant who voluntarily speaks after receiving Miranda warnings has not been induced to remain silent. As to the subject matter of his statements, the defendant has not remained silent at all." (Anderson, supra, 447 U.S. at p. 408; People v. Osband (1996) 13 Cal.4th 622, 694.)