February 24, 2010

US Supreme Court - 2-23-2010

Florida v. Powell            Miranda / Sufficiency of Advisement / Deception / Waiver / Independent State Grounds
Issue: Whether the temporal placement of  “you have the right to consult a lawyer prior to questioning” and the words “you may exercise these rights at any time during questioning” after the entire advisement sufficiently advises a person of their right to consult a lawyer during questioning?
Held: Yes.
Facts: The police in Florida routinely tell the accused he/she has a right to a lawyer prior to questioning, but do not couple that particular advisement with another that the accused can consult a lawyer at anytime during questioning. Instead, the police in Florida do a catchall at the end of the Miranda warnings, and tell the accused he/she may exercise any or all of these rights at anytime during questioning. The defense argued this method deceives advisees into thinking that they may not consult a lawyer if they did not prior to questioning. The U.S. Supreme Court did not care. Justice Ginsberg wrote the opinion of the Court, and only Justices Stevens and Federal-Sentencing-Guideline-Loving Breyer, dissented. Moreover, the dissent argued that Florida sufficiently relied upon independent state grounds. The majority thought otherwise.

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