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Name: U.S. v. Bushyhead
Case #: 00-10396
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/30/2001
Subsequent History: None
Summary

In a homicide case, as a police officer approached defendant after his arrest with the intent of giving him Miranda warnings, the defendant said, “I have nothing to say. I’m going to get the death penalty anyway.” The court held it was error to admit this testimony for the limited purpose of tending to show defendant was aware of having commited a homicide. The court characterized the statement as an invocation of silence itself. The privilege against self-incrimination prevents not only the use of evidence of defendant’s silence, but also the circumstances of that silence as well. However, the error was harmless in light of strong evidence of first-degree murder.