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Name: Arnold v. Runnels
Case #: 04-15194
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/24/2005

Arnold, a suspect in a robbery, was interrogated by two officers after waiving his Miranda rights. 30 minutes into the interrogation, an officer began tape recording the interrogation. Arnold specifically said he would not talk on the tape, but the officer turned it on and began asking questions. Arnold replied “no comment” to every substantive question. The tape was played for the jury over objection and appellant was convicted. Reversing the district court’s denial of a habeas petition, the appellate court held that the state courts unreasonably applied clearly established federal law by failing to hold that the petitioner’s Fifth Amendment rights were violated in the admission of the tape recording. Petitioner unequivocally invoked his Miranda rights because his statement that he did not want to talk on tape was clear and unambiguous. His answers of “no comment” did not constitute a waiver. The error was not harmless because it could not be said that the error did not have a substantial effect, injurious to the petitioner, on the jury’s decision-making process.