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Home / Courts / Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Post-Arrest Silence – Four Mentions – Voluntary Manslaughter (access required)

Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Post-Arrest Silence – Four Mentions – Voluntary Manslaughter (access required)

State v. Williams Twelve hours after his arrest, defendant began saying his shooting victim had had a gun. The trial court allowed the state to comment on defendant’s initial post-arrest silence four times in violation of Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610 (1976). Although defendant only objected the first two times, we find the state’s comments to be prejudicial because the state attempted to show that, if defendant acted in self-defense, he would have immediately explained this to the police. Because the state directly tied defendant’s silence to his claim of self-defense, the error cannot be harmless.

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