Utah v. Valdez
Utah Supreme Court; Case No. 20210175-SC
Decision below 482 P.3d 861 (Utah App. Feb. 11, 2021)
The Fifth Amendment prohibits using Mr. Valdez’s refused passcode disclosure as evidence of guilt. It is settled law that the State cannot raise a criminal defendant’s silence as evidence of their guilt. The words of the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against compelled self-incrimination should be given their plain meaning. The Fourteenth Amendment’s history is useful guidance when considering an amendment’s curative purpose. The Fifth Amendment’s own language demonstrates the Self-Incrimination Clause’s only limitation is that it is reserved for criminal cases. The State’s search warrant authority does not override a defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights.
Jeffery C. Corey, John E. Cutler, and Jordan E. Westgate, Parsons Behle & Latimer, Salt Lake City, UT.