467 U.S. 180 (1984), 83-128, United States v. Gouveia

Docket Nº:No. 83-128
Citation:467 U.S. 180, 104 S.Ct. 2292, 81 L.Ed.2d 146
Party Name:United States v. Gouveia
Case Date:May 29, 1984
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 180

467 U.S. 180 (1984)

104 S.Ct. 2292, 81 L.Ed.2d 146

United States

v.

Gouveia

No. 83-128

United States Supreme Court

May 29, 1984

Argued March 20, 1984

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR

THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Four of the respondents, who were all inmates in a federal prison, were placed in administrative detention in individual cells during the investigation of the 1978 murder of a fellow inmate. They remained in administrative detention without appointed counsel for approximately 19 months before their indictment on federal criminal charges and their arraignment in Federal District Court, when counsel was appointed for them. The District Court denied their motion to dismiss the indictment on the asserted ground that their administrative confinement without appointed counsel violated their Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and they were ultimately convicted of murder. The other two respondents were placed in administrative detention without appointed counsel for approximately eight months during the investigation of a 1979 murder of another inmate. Counsel was appointed for them and they were released from administrative detention when they were arraigned on a federal indictment. They were also ultimately convicted of murder over their contention that the preindictment administrative confinement violated their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. On consolidated appeals, the Court of Appeals reversed. Although recognizing that a plurality of this Court had concluded in Kirby v. Illinois, 406 U.S. 682, that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches only when formal judicial proceedings are initiated against an individual by way of indictment, information, arraignment, or preliminary hearing, the Court of Appeals noted that Kirby was not a prison case, and concluded that an indigent inmate who is the subject of a felony investigation and who is isolated in administrative detention for more than 90 days must be afforded counsel after 90 days or else be released back into the prison population.

Held: Respondents were not constitutionally entitled to the appointment of counsel while they were in administrative segregation and before any adversary judicial proceedings had been initiated against them. Pp. 187-192.

(a) The right to counsel attaches only at or after the initiation of adversary judicial proceedings against the defendant. Cf. Kirby v. Illinois, supra, at 688-689. This interpretation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is consistent not only with the literal language of the

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Amendment, which requires the existence of both a "criminal prosecutio[n]" and an "accused," but also with the purposes that the right to counsel [104 S.Ct. 2294] serves, including assuring aid at trial and at "critical" pretrial proceedings when the accused is confronted with the intricacies of criminal law or with the expert advocacy of the public prosecutor, or both. Pp. 187-189.

(b) The Court of Appeals' analogy to Sixth Amendment speedy trial cases -- which hold that that Sixth Amendment right may attach as early as the time of arrest -- is inapt. The speedy trial right and the right to counsel protect different interests, and any analogy between an arrest and an inmate's administrative detention pending investigation is not relevant to a proper determination of when the right to counsel attaches. Pp. 189-190.

(c) The Court of Appeals' holding also confuses the purpose of the right to counsel with purposes that are served by the Fifth Amendment due process guarantee and the statutes of limitations applicable to the particular crime being investigated. The court was concerned with affording protection against the possibility that the Government might delay the initiation of formal charges while it developed its case against the isolated and unaided inmate, during which time physical evidence might deteriorate, witnesses' memories might dim, and alibi witnesses might be transferred to other facilities. Such concerns, while legitimate ones, do not implicate the right to counsel. Providing a defendant with a preindictment private investigator is not a purpose of the right to counsel. Pp. 191-192.

704 F.2d 1116, reversed and remanded.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p. 193. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 199.

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REHNQUIST, J., lead opinion

JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

Respondents William Gouveia, Robert Ramirez, Adolpho Reynoso, and Philip Segura were convicted of murdering a fellow inmate at a federal prison in Lompoc, Cal. Respondents Robert Mills and Richard Pierce were convicted of a later murder of another inmate at the same institution. Prison officials placed each respondent in administrative detention shortly after the murders, and they remained there for an extended period of time before they were eventually indicted on criminal charges. On appeal of respondents' convictions, the en banc Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held by divided vote that they had a Sixth Amendment right to an attorney during the period in which they were held in administrative detention before the return of indictments against them, and that, because they had been denied that right, their convictions had to be overturned and their indictments dismissed. 704 F.2d 1116 (1983). We granted certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' novel application of our Sixth Amendment precedents, 464 U.S. 913 (1983), and we now reverse.

On November 11, 1978, Thomas Trejo, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Lompoc, Cal., was found dead from 45 stab wounds in the chest. Prison officials and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation began independent

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investigations of the murder. Prison officials immediately suspected respondents Reynoso and Gouveia, and placed them in the Administrative Detention Unit (ADU) at Lompoc. They were released back into the general prison population on November 22, 1978, but after officials obtained further information about the murder, on December 4, 1978, they returned Reynoso and Gouveia to the ADU, and placed respondents Segura and Ramirez in the ADU as well. Later in December, prison officials held disciplinary hearings, determined that all four respondents had participated in the murder of inmate Trejo, and ordered their continued confinement in the ADU. While in the ADU, respondents were separated from the general prison population and confined [104 S.Ct. 2295] to individual cells. Although their participation in various prison programs was curtailed, they were still allowed regular visitation rights, exercise periods, access to legal materials, and unmonitored phone calls. 704 F.2d at 1118; see generally 28 CFR §§ 541.19, 541.20(d) (1983). Respondents remained in the ADU without appointed counsel for approximately 19 months. On June 17, 1980, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against respondents on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1111 and 1117, respectively. On July 14, 1980, respondents were arraigned in federal court, at which time a Federal Magistrate appointed counsel for them.

Before trial, respondents filed a motion to dismiss their indictments, arguing that the delay of approximately 19 months between the commission of the crime and the return of the indictments violated their due process rights under the Fifth Amendment or, alternatively, their Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, and that their confinement in the ADU without appointment of counsel during that period violated their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The District Court for the Central District of California denied their motion, and respondents proceeded to trial. Their first trial, which lasted approximately four weeks, ended in a mistrial. On retrial, respondents were convicted on both counts and

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were sentenced to consecutive life and 99-year terms of imprisonment.

The scenario is much the same in the case of Mills and Pierce. Inmate Thomas Hall was stabbed to death at Lompoc on August 22, 1979. Immediately afterwards, Mills and Pierce were examined by a prison doctor and questioned by FBI agents regarding the murder. Prison officials suspected them of involvement in the murder and placed them in the ADU pending further investigation. On September 13, 1979, prison officials conducted a disciplinary hearing, concluded that respondents had murdered inmate Hall, and ordered their continued confinement in the ADU, where they remained for the next eight months. On March 27, 1980, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Mills and Pierce on charges of first-degree murder in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1111 and of conveyance of a weapon in prison in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1792, and against Pierce on a charge of assault in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 113(c). At the time of their arraignment on April 21, 1980, Mills and Pierce were appointed counsel and were released from the ADU.

Before trial, Mills and Pierce also filed a motion to dismiss their indictments, alleging that the 8-month preindictment delay violated their Fifth Amendment due process rights and their Sixth Amendment speedy trial right, and that their confinement without counsel for that period violated their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The District Court for the Central District of California granted the motion to dismiss. A panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded for trial, holding that respondents' Sixth Amendment rights were not triggered during their...

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