Post-Arrest Silence As Evidence of Guilt

In Weir v. Fletcher, the Court said: The significant difference between the present case and Doyle is that the record does not indicate that respondent Weir received any Miranda warnings during the period in which he remained silent immediately after his arrest. The majority of the Court of Appeals recognized the difference, but sought to extend Doyle to cover Weir's situation by stating that "(we) think an arrest, by itself, is governmental action which implicitly induces a defendant to remain silent." 658 F.2d 1126, 1131 (1981). This broadening of Doyle is unsupported by the reasoning of that case and contrary to our post-Doyle decisions. ... In ... post-Doyle cases, we have consistently explained Doyle as a case where the government had induced silence by implicitly assuring the defendant that his silence would not be used against him. In Roberts v. United States, 445 U.S. 552, 561, 63 L. Ed. 2d 622, 100 S. Ct. 1358 (1980), the court observed that the post-conviction, presentencing silence of the defendant did not resemble "postarrest silence that may be induced by the assurances contained in Miranda warnings". In Jenkins v. Anderson, Warden, the court noted that the failure to speak involved in that case occurred before the defendant was taken into custody and was given his Miranda warnings, commenting that no governmental action induced the defendant to remain silent before his arrest. 447 U.S. 231, at 239-40, 100 S. Ct. 2124, 65 L. Ed. 2d 86 (1980). Finally, in Anderson v. Charles, 447 U.S. 404, 407-408, 65 L. Ed. 2d 222, 100 S. Ct. 2180 (1980), we explained that use of silence for impeachment was fundamentally unfair in Doyle because "Miranda warnings inform a person of his right to remain silent and assure him, at least implicitly, that his silence will not be used against him. ... Doyle bars the use against a criminal defendant of silence maintained after receipt of governmental assurances." In the absence of the sort of affirmative assurances embodied in the Miranda warnings, we do not believe that it violates due process of law for a State to permit cross-examination as to postarrest silence when a defendant chooses to take the stand. Fletcher, 455 U.S. 603, 605-07, 71 L. Ed. 2d 490, 102 S. Ct. 1309 (1982) (per curiam).