470 U.S. 51 (1985), 82-5920, Shea v. Louisiana

Docket Nº:No. 82-5920
Citation:470 U.S. 51, 105 S.Ct. 1065, 84 L.Ed.2d 38, 53 U.S.L.W. 4173
Party Name:Shea v. Louisiana
Case Date:February 20, 1985
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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470 U.S. 51 (1985)

105 S.Ct. 1065, 84 L.Ed.2d 38, 53 U.S.L.W. 4173

Shea

v.

Louisiana

No. 82-5920

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 20, 1985

Argued November 7, 1984

CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA

Syllabus

After petitioner was arrested on armed robbery charges in Louisiana, he was taken to the police station for questioning by detectives. Upon being read his Miranda rights, he said that he did not wish to make any statement until he saw a lawyer, and the interview was then terminated. But the next day, before petitioner had communicated with a lawyer, one of the same detectives, without inquiring whether petitioner had spoken with an attorney and without any indication from petitioner that he was willing to be interrogated, asked if he was willing to talk about the case. After Miranda rights were again read to petitioner, he orally confessed that he had committed the robberies. Over petitioner's objections, the confession was admitted into evidence at his trial and he was convicted. In the meantime, subsequent to petitioner's trial and convictions, and, while his appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court was pending, this Court ruled in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, that a criminal defendant's rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by the use of his confession obtained by police-instigated interrogation -- without counsel present -- after he requested an attorney. While acknowledging the presence of an Edwards violation, the Louisiana Supreme Court went on to hold that Edwards was not to be applied to petitioner's case.

Held: The Edwards ruling applies to cases pending on direct appeal at the time Edwards was decided. Pp. 54-61.

421 So.2d 200, reversed and remanded.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., and REHNQUIST and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined, post, p. 61. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 66.

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BLACKMUN, J., lead opinion

JUSTICE BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.

In Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981), this Court ruled that a criminal defendant's rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by the use of his confession obtained by police-instigated interrogation -- without counsel present -- after he requested an attorney. This case presents the issue whether that ruling is applicable to a case pending on direct appeal in a state court at the time Edward was decided.

I

There is no dispute as to the facts. Petitioner Kevin Michael Shea was charged in Louisiana with two counts of armed robbery. He was arrested on July 2, 1979, and was taken to the police station at Shreveport. There he was turned over to Detectives Smith and Snell for questioning. His so-called Miranda rights, see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), were read to him, and he signed a standard Miranda card. He said, however, that he did not wish to make any statement until he saw a lawyer. The interview thereupon was terminated.

The following afternoon, July 3, before petitioner had been in communication with any lawyer, Detective Snell returned. He informed petitioner that he was to be transferred from the city jail to the parish jail. Without inquiring of petitioner whether he had spoken with an attorney or whether he was indigent, and without any indication from petitioner that he now was willing to be interrogated, Snell asked if he wanted to talk about the case. Again, Miranda rights were read to petitioner and again he signed a Miranda card. He then orally confessed that he had committed the two robberies.

The charges against petitioner came on for trial in due course in the State District Court for Caddo Parish. At this point, the two counts were severed. Prior to his trial before a jury on the first count, petitioner formally moved to suppress the confession of July 3. App. 2. At the trial, which

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took place in 1980, the prosecution offered the confession in evidence. The defense objected, but the objection was overruled and the confession was admitted. Petitioner was convicted. He filed a like suppression motion with respect to the second charge. Id. at 6. When this was denied, he withdrew his original plea and entered a plea of guilty, with a reservation under state law, see State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584, 588 (La.1976), of his right to appeal the denial of the motion to suppress. App. 7-8.

On his appeal to the Supreme Court of Louisiana, petitioner raised the issue of the trial court's error, in violation of Miranda, in admitting the confession. In its opinion, the Louisiana tribunal cited this Court's decision in Edwards, which had come down in the meantime but subsequent to petitioner's trial and convictions. The Louisiana court acknowledged the presence of an Edwards violation.1 It stated:

[105 S.Ct. 1067]

In the present case, it is undisputed that the police did initiate such an inquiry on July 3, after having been clearly informed by the defendant on the previous evening that he would not make any statements without counsel. Consequently, there was a violation of the additional standard governing police interrogation of a suspect imposed by Edwards v. Arizona. . . .

421 So.2d 200, 203 (1982). The court, however, went on to hold that Edwards was not to be applied in petitioner's case:

As this [error] occurred before the decision in Edwards was rendered and we are convinced the United States

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Supreme Court will pronounce that decision is not retroactive, we so hold in this case.

421 So.2d at 204.

Petitioner successfully obtained a rehearing on the retroactivity issue. On rehearing, although the Louisiana Supreme Court again acknowledged, id. at 210, that petitioner's confession, under Edwards, was not admissible, that court adhered, over two dissents, to its position that Edwards was not to be given retroactive effect. It stated that that decision was a "clear break with the past," was a new ruling, and was not retroactive. 421 So.2d at 210.

Because of the importance of the issue and because of conflicting decisions elsewhere,2 we granted certiorari. 466 U.S. 957 (1984).

II

Edwards, the case at the center of the present controversy, involved facts startlingly similar to those of the present case. Police officers informed Edwards of his Miranda rights and questioned him until he said he wanted an attorney. At that point questioning ceased. The next day, however, other officers visited Edwards, stated they wanted to talk to him, informed him of his Miranda rights, and obtained an oral confession. This Court was positive and clear in its ruling:

[A]lthough we have held that after initially being advised of his Miranda rights, the accused may himself

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validly waive his rights and respond to interrogation, . . . the Court has strongly indicated that additional safeguards are necessary when the accused asks for counsel; and we now hold that, when an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established by showing only that he responded to further police-initiated custodial interrogation, even if he has been advised of his rights. We further hold that an accused, such as Edwards, having expressed his desire to deal with the police only through counsel, is not subject to further interrogation by the authorities until counsel has been made available to him, unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police.

(Footnote omitted.) 451 U.S. at 484-485. See also Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 298 (1980); Fare v. Michael C., 442 U.S. 707, 719 (1979); Michigan v. Mosley, 423 U.S. 96, 104, n. 10 (1975), and id. at 109-111 (opinion concurring in result); [105 S.Ct. 1068] Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. at 444-445, 474.

The legal principle, thus, is established and is uncontested here. The only question before us in this case is whether that ruling applies retroactively with respect to petitioner's convictions when the issue was raised and his case was pending and undecided on direct appeal in the state system at the time Edwards was decided.3

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III

Two of this Court's recent cases bear importantly upon the issue. The first is United States v. Johnson, 457 U.S. 537 (1982). In that case, we held that a decision of this Court concerning Fourth Amendment rights was to be applied retroactively to all convictions that were not yet final at the time the decision was rendered, except in those situations that would be clearly controlled by existing retroactivity precedents to the contrary. Specifically, the Court held that Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980), was to be applied retroactively to Johnson's case.

The Court in Johnson found persuasive Justice Harlan's earlier reasoning...

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