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Name: United States v. Caruto
Case #: 07-50041
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/12/2008

Reversal was required where the prosecution impermissibly highlighted omissions from postarrest statement resulting from invocation of Miranda rights. During Caruto’s trial for transportation of cocaine, the prosecutor emphasized in his closing argument that there were missing portions of Caruto’s statements to officers about her knowledge of the cocaine hidden in her truck. Caruto argued on appeal that the closing argument improperly penalized her for omissions in her statements which were a result of her invocation of her Miranda rights. The appellate court agreed and reversed. A defendant may exercise his or her Miranda rights without running the risk of the prosecutor commenting on it. The “missing” statements were a direct result of Caruto’s exercise of her Fifth Amendment rights and the prosecutor commented on “critical details” that were missing. The argument noting omissions from the statements violated due process and reversal was therefore required.