The Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith represents clients who are accused of criminal sexual conduct. Typically, in these cases, law enforcement seeks to obtain a statement from the accused individual. Many times, our office will represent clients during the investigation phase into a criminal sexual conduct case. In some situations, it is better advice to not have the client make a statement. In other cases, however, it is advisable to have the client make a statement and this can be used strategically for a number of reasons. If you or a loved one are facing an allegation of criminal sexual conduct, this question should be answered by a qualified lawyer and only on a case-by-case basis. There is not a one-size-fits-all kind of answer.
Recently, in an odd twist, the Supreme Court ruled against a man who remained silent on a few key questions while being interrogated by law enforcement. In the recently released Supreme Court opinion of Salinas v Texas, a jury convicted Mr. Salinas after the court allowed the prosecution to use it against the man that he failed to answer some questions. While the case was not a criminal sexual conduct case, the ruling by the Supreme Court will apply to all future criminal sexual conduct cases in Michigan. The jury concluded that the Defendant's silence indicated guilt. Historically, people accused of a crime could not have their silence used against them. This case has certainly created a new issue that criminal defense attorneys will have to consider differently when advising their clients.
Because the Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith does not follow a blanket rule that clients are not to be interviewed or make statements, the decision in Salinas v Texas will have little impact on the way Shannon handles her cases and clients accused of criminal sexual conduct. It is advisable, however, to retain an attorney to help you make this decision. While being accused of any crime can be a very scary and emotional time, it is still important to remember you should not say anything until you have consulted with an attorney who specifically focuses on defending clients accused of criminal sexual conduct.