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Defendant's Post-Miranda Silence Improperly Presented at Trial


Case: People v. Bonno

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )


Right to remain silent; Miranda v. Arizona; Testimony of post-Miranda silence; People v. Gallon; People v. Cary; Wainwright v. Greenfield; Plain error review; People v. Carines; Harmless error; People v. Swan; Other acts evidence; MRE 404(b)(1); People v. Knox; Relevance; MRE 402 & 403; People v. McGhee; Jury instructions; Right to a properly instructed jury; People v. Rodriguez; People v. Daniel; People v. Johnson; Whether a necessarily included lesser offense instruction is proper; People v. Nickens


The court held that the trial court’s error in allowing testimony about defendant’s post-Miranda silence did not effect the outcome, and that he was not denied his rights to due process, or a fair trial. On appeal, the court agreed with defendant that the trial court erred by permitting a police detective to testify on direct examination that defendant asserted his right to silence after being given Miranda warnings. However, it found that the error was harmless, noting the evidence of his guilt was overwhelming, and although “such questioning is highly” improper, “because the reference was very brief, did not lead to further related inquiry, and was not referenced in the prosecution’s closing arguments,” reversal was not mandated. Affirmed.

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