Salinas v. Texas

133 S.Ct. 2174 (2013)


Two brothers were shot and killed. A neighbor saw someone run out of the house and speed away in a dark-colored car. Police recovered six shotgun shell casings at the scene. The investigation led police to D. Police visited D at his home, where they saw a dark blue car in the driveway. D agreed to hand over his shotgun for ballistics testing and to accompany police to the station for questioning. The interview was noncustodial. D answered the officer’s questions. But when asked whether his shotgun “would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder,” D declined to answer. D “looked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, clenched his hands in his lap, [and] began to tighten up.” After a few moments of silence, the officer asked additional questions, which D answered. D was arrested on outstanding traffic warrants. D was released. A few days later, police obtained a statement from a man who said he had heard D confess to the killings. P charge D, but by this time he had absconded. In 2007, police discovered D.  D did not testify at trial. Over his objection, P used his reaction to the officer’s question during the 1993 interview as evidence of his guilt. D was found guilty. On appeal, D argued that P's use of his silence violated the Fifth Amendment. It held that D’s prearrest, pre-Miranda silence was not “compelled” within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed on the same ground. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.