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In the Sept. 4 edition of The University Star, Mr. Jacob Cleveland submitted a Letter to the Editor criticizing Student Government President Boreing’s silence in response to allegations of improperly receiving “$2,800 and 25 iPads, entirely under the table.” Cleveland found Boreing’s silence “troubling.”

I simply point out that in the United States of America, a person’s silence in the face of criminal accusations is referred to as his or her right to remain silent, as enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution. Here, no criminal charges have even been filed!

The Supreme Court has even admonished prosecutors who have commented on an accused’s silence in the case of Griffin v. California (1965), 380 U.S. 309. Even if charges are filed, the prosecution has the burden of establishing each and every prima facie element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt —even in the face of a totally silent response.

No one needs to be “troubled” by unsupported accusations.

– Dr. James D. Elshoff is an adjunct professor, attorney at law and former Justice of the Peace

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