DOYLE V. OHIO, 426 U. S. 610 (1976)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610 (1976)

Doyle v. Ohio

No. 75-5014

Argued February 23, 1976

Decided June 17, 1976*

426 U.S. 610


During the course of their state criminal trials petitioners, who, after arrest, were given warnings in line with Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, 384 U. S. 467-473, took the stand and gave an exculpatory story that they had not previously told to the police or the prosecutor. Over their counsel's objection, they were cross-examined as to why they had not given the arresting officer the exculpatory explanations. Petitioners were convicted, and their convictions were upheld on appeal.

Held: The use for impeachment purposes of petitioners' silence, at the time of arrest and after they received Miranda warnings, violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Post-arrest silence following such warnings is insolubly ambiguous; moreover, it would be fundamentally unfair to allow an arrestee's silence to be used to impeach an explanation subsequently given at trial after he had been impliedly assured, by the Miranda warnings, that silence would carry no penalty. Pp. 426 U. S. 616-620.

Reversed and remanded.

POWELL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BLACKMUN and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, post, p. 426 U. S. 620.

Page 426 U. S. 611

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