462 U.S. 1039 (1983), 81-1857, Oregon v. Bradshaw

Docket Nº:No. 81-1857.
Citation:462 U.S. 1039, 103 S.Ct. 2830, 77 L.Ed.2d 405
Party Name:OREGON, Petitioner v. James Edward BRADSHAW.
Case Date:June 23, 1983
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 1039

462 U.S. 1039 (1983)

103 S.Ct. 2830, 77 L.Ed.2d 405

OREGON, Petitioner

v.

James Edward BRADSHAW.

No. 81-1857.

United States Supreme Court.

June 23, 1983

Argued March 28, 1983.

[103 S.Ct. 2831] Syllabus[*]

SYLLABUS

During the investigation of the death of a person whose body had been found in his wrecked pickup truck, respondent was questioned at the police station, where he was advised of his Miranda rights, and later arrested for furnishing liquor to the victim, a minor, and again advised of his Miranda rights. Respondent denied his involvement and asked for an attorney. Subsequently, while being transferred from the police station to a jail, respondent inquired of a police officer, "Well, what is going to happen to me now?" The officer answered that respondent did not have to talk to him and respondent said he understood. There followed a discussion between respondent and the officer as to where respondent was being taken and the offense with which he would be charged. The officer suggested that respondent take a polygraph examination, which he did, after another reading of his Miranda rights. When the examiner told respondent that he did not believe respondent was telling the truth, respondent recanted his earlier story and admitted that he had been driving the truck in question and that he had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol and had passed out at the wheel of the truck before it left the highway. Respondent was charged with first-degree manslaughter, driving while under the influence of intoxicants, and driving while his license was revoked. His motion to suppress his statements admitting his involvement was denied, and he was found guilty after a bench trial. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the inquiry respondent made of the police officer while being transferred to jail did not "initiate" a conversation with the officer and that therefore [103 S.Ct. 2832] the statements growing out of this conversation should have been excluded from evidence under Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378.

Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.

54 Or.App. 949, 636 P.2d 1011, reversed and remanded.

Justice REHNQUIST, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Justice WHITE, and Justice O'CONNOR, concluded that respondent's Fifth Amendment rights were not violated. Pp. 2834 - 2835.

(a) The Oregon Court of Appeals misapprehended the test laid down in Edwards, where it was held that, after the right to counsel has been asserted by an accused, further interrogation should not take place "unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations

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with the police." 451 U.S., at 485, 101 S.Ct., at 1885. It was not held in that case that the "initiation" of a conversation by an accused such as respondent would amount to a waiver of a previously invoked right to counsel. The Oregon court erred in thinking that an "initiation" of a conversation by an accused not only satisfies the Edwards rule, but ex proprio vigore suffices to show a waiver of the previously asserted right to counsel. Pp. 2834 - 2835.

(b) Here, in asking "Well, what is going to happen to me now?" respondent "initiated" further conversation. His statement evinced a willingness and a desire for a generalized discussion about the investigation and was not merely a necessary inquiry arising out of the incidents of the custodial relationship. P. 2835.

(c) Since there was no violation of the Edwards rule in this case the next inquiry is whether, in light of the totality of the circumstances, respondent made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to have counsel present. The trial court, based on its first-hand observation of the witnesses, found a waiver; there is no reason to dispute that finding. P. 2835.

Justice POWELL concluded that a two-step analysis is unnecessary. In the circumstances of the case, it is sufficient that respondent knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel. P. 2838.

COUNSEL

Dave Frohnmayer, Attorney General of Oregon, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were William F. Gary, Solicitor General, James E. Mountain, Jr., Deputy Solicitor General, and Robert E. Barton, Thomas H. Denney, and Stephen G. Peifer, Assistant Attorneys General.

Gary D. Babcock argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief wasJohn Daugirda.

David B. Frohnmayer, Atty. Gen., Salem, Or., for petitioner.

Gary D. Babcock, Public Defender, Salem, Or., for respondent.

OPINION

Justice REHNQUIST announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Justice WHITE, and Justice O'CONNOR joined.

After a bench trial in an Oregon trial court, respondent James Edward Bradshaw was convicted of the offenses of

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first degree manslaughter, driving while under the influence of intoxicants, and driving while his license was revoked. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed his conviction, holding that an inquiry he made of a police officer at the time he was in custody did not "initiate" a conversation with the officer, and that therefore statements by the respondent growing out of that conversation should have been excluded from evidence under Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). We granted certiorari to review this determination. 459 U.S. 966, 103 S.Ct. 292, 74 L.Ed.2d 276 (1982).

In September, 1980, Oregon police were investigating the death of one Lowell Reynolds in Tillamook County. Reynolds' body had been found in his wrecked pickup truck, in which he appeared to have been a passenger at the time the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree and an embankment, and finally came to rest on its side in a shallow creek. Reynolds had died from traumatic injury, coupled with asphyxia by drowning. During the investigation of Reynolds' death, respondent was asked to accompany a police officer to the Rockaway Police Station for questioning.

[103 S.Ct. 2833] Once at the station, respondent was advised of his rights as required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Respondent then repeated to the police his earlier account of the events of the evening of Reynolds' death, admitting that he had provided Reynolds and others with liquor for a party at Reynolds' house, but denying involvement in the traffic accident that apparently killed Reynolds. Respondent suggested that Reynolds might have met with foul play at the hands of the assailant whom respondent alleged had struck him at the party.

At this point, respondent was placed under arrest for furnishing liquor to Reynolds, a minor, and again advised of his Miranda rights. A police officer then told respondent the officer's theory of how the traffic accident that killed Reynolds occurred; a theory which placed respondent behind the wheel of the vehicle. Respondent again denied his involvement, and said "I do want an attorney before it goes very

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much further." App. 72. The officer immediately terminated the conversation.

Sometime later respondent was transferred from the Rockaway Police Station to the Tillamook County Jail, a distance of some ten or fifteen miles. Either just before, or during, his trip from Rockaway to Tillamook, respondent inquired of a police officer, "Well, what is going to happen to me now?" The officer answered by saying "You do not have to talk to me. You have requested an attorney and I don't want you talking to me unless you so desire because anything you say--because--since you have requested an attorney, you know, it has to be at your own free will." App. 16. See 54 Or.App. 949, 951, 636 P.2d 1011, 1011-1012 (1981). Respondent said he understood. There followed a discussion between respondent and the officer concerning where respondent was being taken and the offense with which he would be charged. The officer suggested that respondent might help himself by taking a polygraph examination. Respondent agreed to take such an examination, saying that he was willing to do whatever he could to clear up the matter.

The next day, following another reading to respondent of his Miranda rights, and respondent's signing a written waiver of those rights, the polygraph was administered. At its conclusion, the examiner told respondent that he did not believe respondent was telling the truth. Respondent then recanted his earlier story, admitting that he had been at the wheel of the vehicle in which Reynolds was killed, that he had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, and that he had passed out at the wheel before the vehicle left the roadway and came to rest in the creek.

Respondent was charged with first degree manslaughter, driving while under the influence of intoxicants, and driving while his license was revoked. His motion to suppress the statements described above was denied, and he was found guilty after a bench trial. The Oregon Court of Appeals, relying on our decision in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981), reversed,

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concluding that the statements had been obtained in violation of respondent's Fifth Amendment rights. We now conclude that the Oregon Court of Appeals misapplied our decision in Edwards.

In Edwards the defendant had voluntarily submitted to questioning but later stated that he wished an attorney before the discussions continued. The following day detectives accosted the defendant in the county jail, and when he refused to speak with them he was told that "he had" to talk. We held that subsequent incriminating statements made without his attorney present violated the...

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