Friday, May 8, 2009

You'd better know your rights

If it's in the paper, you can believe it. Right?

I couldn't even read past the front page of this morning's paper (Northwest Herald, Page 1), before I almost fell off my chair, laughing. Why?

"She (Eva Walton) was arrested May 26, 2005, after an interview with a U.s. Secret Service agent that Huntley police set up to try to eliminate her as a suspect."

Quick! If you believe that one, call me! I've got a bridge in New York I'd like to sell you!"

Why, how nice and considerate of the Huntley Police! And how cooperative of the U.S. Secret Service to do its loyal best to "eliminate a suspect".

And the sub-headline? "Prosecutor maintains woman harmed infant." Well, duh... How many years did they just spend trying to convict her? What else is a prosecutor going to say? Does the term "good loser" ever apply in McHenry County?

Cops' memories aren't supposed to "fade". They should write solid, complete reports, which they may later use to "refresh" their memories while they are testifying. It appears from the article that two Huntley police officers "remembered" a supposed head nod by Walton six weeks after writing their initial reports. Sheesh!

Just this one article could make a good case study for a class that should required for every high school and college student. I heard someone say a while back, "If you don't know what your rights are, then you don't have any." This is just as true today as the day I first heard it.

Walton's advice now?

1. If you are facing questioning, hire an attorney immediately, even if you believe you've done nothing wrong.
2. Don't believe that there is no harm in talking to police, if you have done nothing wrong.

Police are required to read your "rights" to you. Listen to them.

1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to an attorney before being questioned.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

It's a right, not a privilege. Repeat after me: "I have the right to remain silent."

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