Don't lie to me boy

With all the recent federal prosecutions for lying to the United States Senate or to an FBI agent, a valid question remains: Shouldn’t you be able to lie to an officer if he arrests you and asks you what you were doing?  Hey, if he asks you if you did the deed, aren’t you allowed to say ”no” and not be put in jail for saying that? If you were doing something illegal, are you obligated to tell the truth — to, in essence, admit to the crime?  What about the right to remain silent? 

When I was practicing in the 90’s the “exculpatory no” doctrine pursuant to the Fifth Amendment gave a defendant the right to lie if a federal officer asked a material question about the defendant’s participation in a crime for which he was charged.  18 USC section 1001 supported that doctrine.  Any other lie to the government was prosecutable but not if the FBI or other federal officer asked whether he committed the crime for which he were changed. 

The Supreme Court changed all that in 1998.  The “exculpatory no” doctrine no longer existed. I have never liked that decision and have thought if entirely unfair and unconstitutional to require that an accused answer the question of whether s/he committed a particular offense truthfully.  So often the person questioned has little to no knowledge of his or her status with the authorities, not to mention all the other temporal and psychological factors at play at the time of questioning.   

Wish I could say more.