Michigan v. Jackson Michigan v. Bladel

Decision Date01 April 1986
Docket NumberNos. 84-1531,84-1539,s. 84-1531
Citation106 S.Ct. 1404,475 U.S. 625,89 L.Ed.2d 631
PartiesMICHIGAN, Petitioner, v. Robert Bernard JACKSON. MICHIGAN, Petitioner, v. Rudy BLADEL
CourtU.S. Supreme Court
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. 629-635.

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. 636. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which POWELL and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined, post, p. 637.

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.

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 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 Decem- ber 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).

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 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 (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 a right to counsel at their postarraignment, custodial interrogations. The existence of that right is clear. It has two sources. The Fifth Amendment protection against compelled self-incrimination provides the right to counsel at custodial interrogations. Edwards, 451 U.S., at 482, 101 S.Ct., at 1883; Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 470, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 1625, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). The Sixth Amendment guarantee of the assistance of counsel also provides the right to counsel at postarraignment interrogations. The arraignment signals "the initiation of adversary judicial proceedings" and thus the attachment of the Sixth Amendment, United States v. Gouveia, 467 U.S. 180, 187, 188, 104 S.Ct. 2292, 2297, 81 L.Ed.2d 146 (1984); 3 there- after, government efforts to elicit information from the accused, including interrogation, represent "critical stages" at which the Sixth Amendment applies. Maine v. Moulton, 474 U.S. 159, 106 S.Ct. 477, 85 L.Ed.2d 139 (1985); United States v. Henry, 447 U.S. 264, 100 S.Ct. 2183, 65 L.Ed.2d 115 (1980); Brewer v. Williams, 430 U.S. 387, 97 S.Ct. 1232, 51 L.Ed.2d 424 (1977); Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, 12 L.Ed.2d 246 (1964). The question in these cases is whether respondents validly waived their right to counsel at the postarraignment custodial interrogations.

In Edwards, the request for counsel was made to the police during custodial interrogation, and the basis for the Court's holding was the Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination. The Court noted the relevance of various Sixth Amendment precedents, 451 U.S., at 484, 101 S.Ct., at 1884, n. 8, but found it unnecessary to rely on the possible applicability of the Sixth Amendment. Id., at 480, n. 7, 101 S.Ct., at 1883, n. 7. In these cases, the request for counsel was made to a judge during arraignment, and the basis for the Michigan Supreme Court opinion was the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of the assistance of counsel.4 The State argues that the Edwards rule should not apply to these circumstances because there are legal differences in the basis for the claims; because there are factual differences in...

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