Following the death of a minor in a vehicle accident, the defendant was given his Miranda rights and questioned by officers. The defendant was suspected of being the driver of the vehicle. While he denied driving the vehicle, the defendant admitted to furnishing alcohol to the minor. He was arrested for furnishing alcohol to a minor and again informed of his Miranda rights. Upon being told that he was suspected of being the driver of the vehicle, the defendant invoked his right to counsel and the conversation ended. Shortly thereafter, the defendant was being transported to the county jail, when he asked an officer, “Well, what is going to happen to me now?” The officer reminded the defendant he did not have to speak to the police and that if he chose to do so it would have to be of his free will. The defendant stated that he understood and a discussion followed in which the officer suggested that the defendant take a polygraph examination. The defendant agreed. The next day, before the polygraph examination, the defendant was read his Miranda warnings for a third time. When the polygraph examiner stated he did not believe the defendant was being truthful, the defendant admitted to driving the vehicle at the time of the fatal accident.Whether there exist circumstances in which the government can continue to interrogate a defendant that has invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel?
Whether there exist circumstances in which the government can continue to interrogate a defendant that has invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel?
Yes. If the defendant initiated the conversation with the government after invoking his right, the interrogation can resume.
The Court held that once a suspect invokes his right to counsel, that request must be strictly honored and all questioning must cease. Only after the suspect “initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversation with the police” can further interrogation take place. In other words, “before a suspect in custody can be subjected to further interrogation after he requests an attorney, there must be a showing that the ‘suspect himself initiates dialogue with the authorities.’” In this case, the defendant’s question to the officer, “Well, what is going to happen to me now?” showed a clear desire on the defendant’s part “for a generalized discussion about the investigation.” The defendant’s comment was distinct from some of the routine questions that necessarily arise when a suspect is in custody, such as a request to use the bathroom. Even if the accused initiates a conversation, the government still bears the burden of showing that the suspect waived his right to have counsel present.
462 U.S. 1039, 103 S. Ct. 2830 (1983)