When May the State Use Evidence of a Defendant’s Silence Before Trial?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the prohibition against the State commenting on a defendant’s failure to testify, or, in other words, a defendant’s silence at trial. Such comments are disallowed as they abridge a defendant’s federal and state constitutional rights not to be compelled to give self-incriminating evidence. This post addresses a related issue:  When and how may the State in a criminal trial use evidence of a defendant’s silence before trial to establish a defendant’s guilt or impeach a defendant’s credibility? (This is not the first time we have written about this topic on the blog. Jessie Smith did so here in 2012; nevertheless, a few relevant cases have been decided since then, and I thought it would be helpful to revisit the issue.)

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