Throwback Thursday: Citizen Journalists & the Right to Gather News.

In 2014, Law Forum published Citizen Journalists & the Right to Gather News: Why Maryland Needs to Acknowledge a First Amendment Right to Record the Police by Kristine L. Dietz (J.D., 2014).

More than half of cell phone users in the United States own a smartphone. The video recording capabilities of smartphones make it possible for users to record anything, almost anywhere, at anytime. This modem technology allows for the immediate transfer and widespread dissemination of footage. Recently, videos of alleged police misconduct have gone viral on the Internet and the police are not happy about it. This increase in citizen journalism has left police officers defensive about their privacy and their ability to do their job without interference.

A Confession is Voluntary Unless the Defendant Unambiguously Invokes His Constitutional Right to Remain Silent or the Confession is Obtained Through Coercion or Inducement.

By: Pascale Cadelien, Staff Editor

The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that “I don’t want to say nothing. I don’t know,” is an ambiguous invocation of the right to remain silent. Williams v. State, 445 Md. 452, 455, 128 A.3d 30, 32 (2015). The court reasoned that the defendant’s addition of “I don’t know” to his initial assertion “I don’t want to say nothing” created uncertainty about whether he intended to invoke his right to remain silent. Id. at 477, A.3d at 44. This allowed a reasonable officer to interpret his statement as an “ambiguous request to remain silent.” Id. Furthermore, the officers’ implication that the defendant should confess to a “robbery gone bad,” instead of premeditated murder, did not induce his confession. Id. at 477-483, A.3d at 45-48. Accordingly, the defendant’s confession was voluntary. Id. at 483, A.3d at 48.