August 16, 2004

FLASH! Idaho detectives did not "scrupulously honor" accused's request for a lawyer

The Idaho Court of Appeals gives some guidance to the State as to what a clear and unequivocal request for counsel might sound like:

"Person: Kinda, you guys . . . this is where I want my lawyer.
Detective: Okay.
Person: Okay, this is where I would want my attorney involved.
Detective: Okay uh . . . .
Person: Cause there’s . . . cause you know the rules, I know. (edit)
Detective: Hold on now.
Person: F---, I’m scared guys okay? (edit)
Detective: Okay you told us uh . . . .
Person: Okay.
Detective: . . . you told us you want to talk to your attorney?
Person: I do.
Detective: No, this is a decision you have to make.
Person: Yeah.
Detective: You have to make this decision, and you absolutely want, you want to talk to your attorney?"

"Person thereafter continued to make incriminating statements."

"...At one point one of the detectives queried Person “. . . you told us you want to talk to your attorney?” – to which Person replied “I do.” Instead of then terminating the interrogation, the detective meaningfully interjected “No, this is a decision you have to make.” The detective thus pretended that some clarification or further “decision” from Person was needed even after Person had clearly and unequivocally invoked his right to counsel. Furthermore, after another of Person’s attempts to invoke his right to counsel, the detectives hesitated until Person began to speak again. After another moment during which Person further incriminated himself, he paused and looked down at which point the detective positioned at the left corner of the screen, at Person’s right, signaled the other person in the room to not interrupt Person – making a 'shushing' motion by raising his index finger to his lips..."

State v. Person, ___ Idaho ___, ___ P.3d ___ (App. 2004)