FLETCHER V. WEIR, 455 U. S. 603 (1982)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Fletcher v. Weir, 455 U.S. 603 (1982)

Fletcher v. Weir

No. 81-1049

Decided March 22, 1982

455 U.S. 603


Held: Respondent was not denied due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment by the prosecutor's use, at respondent's state court trial which resulted in a conviction for first-degree manslaughter, of his post-arrest silence for impeachment purposes -- the record not indicating that respondent had been given the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, during the period in which he remained silent immediately after his arrest. In testifying in his own defense, respondent stated for the first time that he acted in self-defense in stabbing the victim, and that the stabbing was accidental. The prosecutor then cross-examined him as to why he had failed to advance his exculpatory explanation to the arresting officers. Absent the sort of affirmative assurances embodied in the Miranda warnings -- which at least implicitly assure the defendant that his silence will not be used against him -- a State does not violate due process by permitting cross-examination as to post-arrest silence when a defendant chooses to take the stand. Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U. S. 610 (where Miranda warnings were given), distinguished.

Certiorari granted; 658 F.2d 1126, reversed and remanded.

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