475 U.S. 625 (1986), 84-1531, 84-1539., Michigan v. Jackson

Docket Nº:Nos. 84-1531, 84-1539.
Citation:475 U.S. 625, 106 S.Ct. 1404, 89 L.Ed.2d 631, 54 U.S.L.W. 4334
Party Name:MICHIGAN, Petitioner, v. Robert Bernard JACKSON. MICHIGAN, Petitioner, v. Rudy BLADEL.
Case Date:April 01, 1986
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 625

475 U.S. 625 (1986)

106 S.Ct. 1404, 89 L.Ed.2d 631, 54 U.S.L.W. 4334

MICHIGAN, Petitioner,

v.

Robert Bernard JACKSON.

MICHIGAN, Petitioner,

v.

Rudy BLADEL.

Nos. 84-1531, 84-1539.

United States Supreme Court.

April 1, 1986

Argued Dec. 9, 1985.

Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Jackson County, of first-degree murder, and he appealed. The Court of Appeals, 106 Mich.App. 397, 308 N.W.2d 230, affirmed. On application for leave to appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court, 413 Mich. 864, 317 N.W.2d 855, remanded. On remand, the Court of Appeals, 118 Mich.App. 498, 325 N.W.2d 421, reversed and remanded. Prosecutor's application for relief to appeal was granted and case was consolidated with another case for purposes of appeal. The other case involved a defendant who was convicted in the Wayne Circuit Court of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. That defendant appealed and the Court of Appeals, 114 Mich.App. 649, 319 N.W.2d 613, affirmed in part, and reversed in part. After reviewing both cases, the Supreme Court of Michigan, 421 Mich. 39, 365 N.W.2d 56, held that postarraignment confessions were improperly obtained and affirmed in one case and reversed in another. Certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court, Justice Stevens, held that if police initiate interrogation after defendant's assertion, at arraignment or similar proceeding, of his right to counsel, any waiver of defendant's right to counsel for that police-initiated interrogation is invalid.

Affirmed.

Chief Justice Burger filed opinion concurring in judgment.

Justice Rehnquist filed dissenting opinion in which Justices Powell and O'Connor joined.

[106 S.Ct. 1405] Syllabus[*]

SYLLABUS

Respondents, at separate arraignments in a Michigan trial court on unrelated murder charges, each requested appointment of counsel. But before respondents had an opportunity to consult with counsel, police officers, after advising respondents of their Miranda rights, questioned them and obtained confessions. Both respondents were convicted over objections to the admission of the confessions in evidence. The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed and remanded in one case, but affirmed in the other. The Michigan Supreme Court considered both cases together, and held that the confessions were improperly obtained in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Held: The confessions should have been suppressed. Although the rule of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct., 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378, that once a suspect has invoked his right to counsel, police may not initiate interrogation until counsel has been made available to the suspect, rested on the Fifth Amendment and concerned a request for counsel made during custodial interrogation, the reasoning of that case applies with even greater force to these cases. The assertion of the right to counsel is no less significant, and the need for additional safeguards no less clear, when that assertion is made at an arraignment and when the basis for it is the Sixth Amendment. If police initiate an interrogation after a defendant's assertion of his right to counsel at an arraignment or similar proceeding, as in these cases, any waiver of that right for that police-initiated interrogation is invalid. Pp. 1407-1411.

421 Mich. 39, 365 N.W.2d 56 (1984), affirmed.

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

COUNSEL

Brian E. Thiede argued the cause for petitioner in both cases and filed a brief for petitioner in No. 84-1539. John D.

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O'Hair, Timothy A. Baughman, and A. George Best II filed a brief for petitioner in No. 84-1531.

James Krogsrud, by appointment of the Court, 473 U.S. 903, argued the cause for respondent in No. 84-1531. With him on the brief was James R. Neuhard. Ronald J. Bretz, by appointment of the Court, 473 U.S. 903, argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent in No. 84-1539.

Brian E. Thiede, Jackson, Mich., for petitioner in both cases.

James Krogsrud, Detroit, Mich., for respondent in No. 84-1531.

Ronald J. Bretz, Lansing, Mich., for respondent in No. 84-1539.

OPINION

Justice STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.

In Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981), we held that an accused person in custody who has "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." Id., at 484-485, 101 S.Ct., at 1884-1885. In Solem v. Stumes, 465 U.S. 638, 104 S.Ct. 1338, 79 L.Ed.2d 579 (1984), we reiterated that "Edwards [106 S.Ct. 1406] established a bright-line rule to safeguard pre-existing rights," id., at 646, 104 S.Ct., at 1343: "once a suspect has invoked the right to counsel, any subsequent conversation must be initiated by him." Id., at 641, 104 S.Ct., at 1340.

The question presented by these two cases is whether the same rule applies to a defendant who has been formally charged with a crime and who has requested appointment of counsel at his arraignment. In both cases, the Michigan Supreme Court held that postarraignment confessions were improperly obtained--and the Sixth Amendment violated--because the defendants had "requested counsel during their arraignments, but were not afforded an opportunity to consult with counsel before the police initiated further interrogations." 421 Mich. 39, 67-68, 365 N.W.2d 56, 69 (1984). We agree with that holding.

I

The relevant facts may be briefly stated. Respondent Bladel was convicted of the murder of three railroad employees at the Amtrak Station in Jackson, Michigan, on December

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31, 1978. Bladel, a disgruntled former employee, was arrested on January 1, 1979, and, after being questioned on two occasions, was released on January 3. He was arrested again on March 22, 1979, and agreed to talk to the police that evening without counsel. On the following morning, Friday, March 23, 1979, Bladel was arraigned. He requested that counsel be appointed for him because he was indigent. The detective in charge of the Bladel investigation was present at the arraignment. A notice of appointment was promptly mailed to a law firm, but the law firm did not receive it until Tuesday, March 27. In the interim, on March 26, 1979, two police officers interviewed Bladel in the county jail and obtained a confession from him. Prior to that questioning, the officers properly advised Bladel of his Miranda rights. 1 Although he had inquired about his representation several times since the arraignment, Bladel was not told that a law firm had been appointed to represent him.

The trial court overruled Bladel's objection to the admissibility of all four statements. On appeal from his conviction and sentence, Bladel challenged only the postarraignment confession. The Michigan Court of Appeals first rejected that challenge and affirmed the conviction, 106 Mich.App. 397, 308 N.W.2d 230 (1981), but, after reconsideration in the light of a recent decision by the State Supreme Court, it reversed and remanded for a new trial. 118 Mich.App. 498, 325 N.W.2d 421 (1982). The Michigan Supreme Court then granted the prosecutor's application for leave to appeal and considered the case with respondent Jackson's appeal of his conviction. 421 Mich. 39, 365 N.W.2d 56 (1984).

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Respondent Jackson was convicted of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. He was one of four participants in a wife's plan to have her husband killed on July 12, 1979. Arrested on an unrelated charge on July 30, 1979, he made a series of six statements in response to police questioning prior to his arraignment at 4:30 p.m. on August 1. During the arraignment, Jackson requested that counsel be appointed for him. The police involved in his investigation were present at the arraignment. On the following morning, before he had an opportunity to consult with counsel, two police officers obtained another statement from Jackson to "confirm" that he was the person who had shot the victim. As was true of the six prearraignment statements, the questioning was preceded by advice of his Miranda rights and Jackson's agreement [106 S.Ct. 1407] to proceed without counsel being present.

The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the seventh statement was properly received in evidence. 114 Mich.App. 649, 319 N.W.2d 613 (1982). It distinguished Edwards on the ground that Jackson's request for an attorney had been made at his arraignment whereas Edwards' request had been made during a custodial interrogation by the police. Accordingly, it affirmed Jackson's conviction of murder, although it set aside the conspiracy conviction on unrelated grounds.

The Michigan Supreme Court held that the postarraignment statements in both cases should have been suppressed. Noting that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel attached at the time of the arraignments, the court concluded that the Edwards rule "applies by analogy to those situations where an accused requests counsel before the arraigning magistrate. Once this request occurs, the police may not conduct further interrogations until counsel has been made available to the accused, unless the accused initiates further communications, exchanges, or conversations with the police.... The police cannot simply ignore a defendant's unequivocal request for counsel." 421 Mich., at 66-67, 365 N.W.2d, at 68-69

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(footnote omitted). We granted certiorari, 471 U.S. 1124, 105 S.Ct. 2654, 86 L.Ed.2d 271 (1985), and we now affirm. 2

II

The question is not whether respondents had...

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