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Gilbert v. California


The defendant was suspected of various robberies in which the robber used a handwritten note to demand money. He was arrested and indicted. Approximately 16 days after his indictment and after he had been appointed counsel, police officers required the defendant to participate in a lineup without notice to his counsel. Numerous witnesses identified the defendant during this lineup and later identified him in court.


Whether the post-indictment lineup, conducted without notice to the defendant’s appointed counsel, violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel?


Yes. The defendant had a right to have counsel present at all critical stages, including lineups.


“Post-indictment pretrial lineups at which the accused is exhibited to identifying witnesses is a critical stage of the criminal prosecution.” Accordingly, the accused had a Sixth Amendment right to counsel at this proceeding. The “conduct of such a lineup without notice to and in the absence of the defendant’s appointed counsel denied him his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and calls in question the admissibility at trial of the in-court identifications of the defendant by witnesses who attended the lineup.”


388 U.S. 263, 87 S. Ct. 1951 (1967)

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