Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Argument: The Fifth Amendment prohibits using Mr. Valdez’s refused passcode disclosure as evidence of guilt. It is settled law that the State cannot raise a criminal defendant’s silence as evidence of their guilt. The words of the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against compelled self-incrimination should be given their plain meaning. The Fourteenth Amendment’s history is useful guidance when considering an amendment’s curative purpose. The Fifth Amendment’s own language demonstrates the Self-Incrimination Clause’s only limitation is that it is reserved for criminal cases. The State’s search warrant authority does not override a defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights.
Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in support of Petitioner.
Argument: The Fifth Amendment applies prior to arrest. Using silence as evidence of guilt compels a suspect to incriminate himself. The right to remain silent protects the innocent. Use of pre-arrest silence allows for police abuse and skews the balance between the individual and the state.