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Maxon v. Bell

United States District Court, Western District of Michigan
2010 WL 7698660 (2010)


Facts

When someone accused Jeffrey Maxon (defendant) of molesting his stepdaughter, a police officer called him directly and said he needed to speak with him. The officer explained that a complaint had been made against Maxon and that the officer wanted to get Maxon’s side of the story. At some point, Maxon seemed like he did not know why the police wanted to talk to him, but he agreed to come into the police department at 1 p.m. the same day. But Maxon never showed up. At trial, Maxon objected to the officer testifying about his nonappearance under the Fifth Amendment, arguing that the prosecution was using silence as evidence of guilt. The prosecutor countered that the testimony was necessary to show the jury that the officer did everything he could to conduct a thorough investigation and to give Maxon an opportunity to explain his side. Maxon was convicted, exhausted his state-court appeals, and brought a federal habeas corpus action asserting violation of his fifth amendment right to remain silent.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carmody, J.)

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