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Kuhlmann v. Wilson


The defendant was arrested for murder. After his initial appearance, he was placed in a holding cell with a government informant. The informant was to listen to the defendant’s comments and report them to the police. He was not to ask any questions but to “keep his ears open.” The defendant made several incriminating statements to the informant.


Whether the government deprived the defendant of his right to counsel by placing an informant in his jail cell?


No. The government is not compelled to ignore the statements of a defendant.


Once the right to counsel has attached, the government is precluded from deliberately eliciting incriminating statements in the absence of the defendant’s lawyer. While the Court held in United States v. Henry that informants that use their positions of trust to elicit remarks are engaged in interrogation, that did not occur here. The defendant must show the government took some action that was deliberately designed to elicit incriminating statements.


477 U.S. 436, 106 S. Ct. 2616 (1986)

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