The Second Department reversed defendant’s conviction because the prosecutor questioned him about his post-arrest silence:
…[T]he Supreme Court erred when it permitted the prosecutor to question the defendant about his post-arrest silence. Generally, a defendant’s post-arrest silence cannot be used for impeachment purposes … . Further, ” an individual’s pretrial failure to speak when confronted by law enforcement officials is of extremely limited probative worth’ while the risk of prejudice is substantial'” … .
Here, over defense counsel’s objection, the prosecutor was permitted to impeach the defendant’s testimony with his failure to offer an exculpatory version of the events to the police. Although the defendant initially responded to certain questions asked by the police, he then invoked his right to remain silent and offered no information “narrat[ing] the essential facts of his involvement in the crime” … . Accordingly, the Supreme Court erred in allowing the prosecutor to pursue this line of inquiry… . People v Theodore, 2014 Slip Op 00246, 2nd Dept 1-15-14