Neil v. Wisconsin, No. 90-5319

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE, O'CONNOR, KENNEDY, and SOUTER, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion. STEVENS
Citation115 L.Ed.2d 158,111 S.Ct. 2204,501 U.S. 171
Decision Date13 June 1991
Docket NumberNo. 90-5319
PartiesPaul McNEIL, Petitioner v. WISCONSIN

501 U.S. 171
111 S.Ct. 2204
115 L.Ed.2d 158
Paul McNEIL, Petitioner

v.

WISCONSIN.

No. 90-5319.
Argued Feb. 25, 1991.
Decided June 13, 1991.
Syllabus

Charged with an armed robbery in West Allis, Wisconsin, petitioner McNeil was represented by a public defender at a bail hearing. While in jail on that charge, he was questioned by police about a murder and related crimes in Caledonia, Wisconsin. He was advised of his Miranda rights, signed forms waiving them, and made statements incriminating himself in the Caledonia offenses. He was then formally charged with the latter crimes, his pretrial motion to suppress his statements was denied, and he was convicted. His conviction was affirmed on appeal, the State Supreme Court holding that an accused's request for counsel at an initial appearance on a charged offense does not constitute an invocation of his Fifth Amendment right to counsel that precludes police interrogation on unrelated, uncharged offenses.

Held: An accused's invocation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel during a judicial proceeding does not constitute an invocation of the right to counsel derived by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, from the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against compelled self-incrimination. Pp. 175-182.

(a) The identity between the two rights that McNeil asserts is false as a matter of fact. The Sixth Amendment right, which does not attach until the initiation of adversary judicial proceedings, is offense-specific, Maine v. Moulton, 474 U.S. 159, 179-180 and n. 16, 106 S.Ct. 477, 488-489 and n. 16, 88 L.Ed.2d 481, as is its effect, under Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 106 S.Ct. 1404, 89 L.Ed.2d 631, of invalidating subsequent waivers during police-initiated questioning. Thus McNeil's invocation of that right with respect to the West Allis robbery poses no bar to the admission of his statements regarding the Caledonia crimes, with which he had not been charged at the time he made the statements. Moreover, although the Miranda right to counsel is non-offense-specific, Arizona v. Roberson, 486 U.S. 675, 108 S.Ct. 2093, 100 L.Ed.2d 704, and, once asserted, prevents any further police-initiated interrogation outside the presence of counsel, Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 484-485, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 1884-1885, 68 L.Ed.2d 378, its assertion cannot be inferred from the invocation of the Sixth Amendment right in light of the differing purposes and effects of the two rights. The Sixth Amendment right is intended to protect the unaided layman at critical confrontations with the government after the initiation of the adversary process with respect to a particular crime, United States v. Gouveia, 467 U.S. 180, 189, 104 S.Ct. 2292, 2298, 81 L.Ed.2d 146. The Miranda-Edwards guarantee is intended to protect the sus-

Page 172

pect's "desire to deal with the police only through counsel," Edwards, supra, 451 U.S., at 484, 101 S.Ct., at 1884. Requesting the assistance of an attorney at a bail hearing does not satisfy the minimum requirement of some statement that can reasonably be construed as an expression of a desire for counsel in dealing with custodial interrogation by the police. Pp. 175-180.

(b) Nor will this Court declare as a matter of sound policy (assuming the existence of such expansive power) that assertion of the Sixth Amendment right implies invocation of the Miranda right. McNeil's proposed rule offers only insignificant advantages, and would seriously impede effective law enforcement by precluding uncounseled but uncoerced admissions of guilt pursuant to valid Miranda waivers. Pp. 180-182.

155 Wis.2d 24, 454 N.W.2d 742 (1990), affirmed.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE, O'CONNOR, KENNEDY, and SOUTER, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined.

Gary M. Luck, Milwaukee, Wis., for petitioner.

David J. Becker, Madison, Wis., for respondent.

Stephen L. Nightingale, Washington, D.C., for the U.S. as amicus curiae, supporting respondent, by special leave of Court.

Page 173

Justice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the question whether an accused's invocation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel during a judicial proceeding constitutes an invocation of his Miranda right to counsel.

I

Petitioner Paul McNeil was arrested in Omaha, Nebraska, in May 1987, pursuant to a warrant charging him with an armed robbery in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. Shortly after his arrest, two Milwaukee County deputy sheriffs arrived in Omaha to retrieve him. After advising him of his Miranda rights, the deputies sought to question him. He refused to answer any questions, but did not request an attorney. The deputies promptly ended the interview.

Once back in Wisconsin, petitioner was brought before a Milwaukee County court commissioner on the armed robbery charge. The Commissioner set bail and scheduled a preliminary examination. An attorney from the Wisconsin Public Defender's office represented petitioner at this initial appearance.

Later that evening, Detective Joseph Butts of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department visited petitioner in jail. Butts had been assisting the Racine County, Wisconsin, police in their investigation of a murder, attempted murder, and armed burglary in the town of Caledonia; petitioner was a suspect. Butts advised petitioner of his Miranda rights, and petitioner signed a form waiving them. In this

Page 174

first interview, petitioner did not deny knowledge of the Caledonia crimes, but said that he had not been involved.

Butts returned two days later with detectives from Caledonia. He again began the encounter by advising petitioner of his Miranda rights, and providing a waiver form. Petitioner placed his initials next to each of the warnings and signed the form. This time, petitioner admitted that he had been involved in the Caledonia crimes, which he described in detail. He also implicated two other men, Willie Pope and Lloyd Crowley. The statement was typed up by a detective and given to petitioner to review. Petitioner placed his initials next to every reference to himself and signed every page.

Butts and the Caledonia Police returned two days later, having in the meantime found and questioned Pope, who convinced them that he had not been involved in the Caledonia crimes. They again began the interview by administering the Miranda warnings, and obtaining petitioner's signature and initials on the waiver form. Petitioner acknowledged that he had lied about Pope's involvement to minimize his own role in the Caledonia crimes, and provided another statement recounting the events, which was transcribed, signed, and initialed as before.

The following day, petitioner was formally charged with the Caledonia crimes and transferred to that jurisdiction. His pretrial motion to suppress the three incriminating statements was denied. He was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and armed robbery, and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

On appeal, petitioner argued that the trial court's refusal to suppress the statements was reversible error. He contended that his courtroom appearance with an attorney for the West Allis crime constituted an invocation of the Miranda right to counsel, and that any subsequent waiver of that right during police-initiated questioning regarding any offense was invalid. Observing that the State's Supreme

Page 175

Court had never addressed this issue, the Court of Appeals certified to that court the following question:

"Does an accused's request for counsel at an initial appearance on a charged offense constitute an invocation of his fifth amendment right to counsel that precludes police interrogation on unrelated, uncharged offenses?" App. 16.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court answered "no." 155 Wis.2d 24, 454 N.W.2d 742 (1990). We granted certiorari, 498 U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 340, 112 L.Ed.2d 305 (1990).

II

The Sixth Amendment provides that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." In Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 106 S.Ct. 1404, 89 L.Ed.2d 631 (1986), we held that once this right to counsel has attached and has been invoked, any subsequent waiver during a police-initiated custodial interview is ineffective. It is undisputed, and we accept for purposes of the present case, that at the time petitioner provided the incriminating statements at issue, his Sixth Amendment right had attached and had been invoked with respect to the West Allis armed robbery, for which he had been formally charged.

The Sixth Amendment right, however, is offense-specific. It cannot be invoked once for all future prosecutions, for it does not attach until a prosecution is commenced, that is, " 'at or after the initiation of adversary judicial criminal proceedings whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment.' " United States v. Gouveia, 467 U.S. 180, 188, 104 S.Ct. 2292, 2297, 81 L.Ed.2d 146 (1984) (quoting Kirby v. Illinois, 406 U.S. 682, 689, 92 S.Ct. 1877, 1882, 32 L.Ed.2d 411 (1972) (plurality opinion)). And just as the right is offense-specific, so also its Michigan v. Jackson effect of invalidating subsequent waivers in police-initiated interviews is offense-specific.

"The police have an interest . . . in investigating new or additional crimes [after an individual is formally charged

Page 176

with one crime.] . . . [T]o exclude evidence pertaining to charges as to which the Sixth Amendment right to counsel had not attached at the time the evidence was obtained, simply because other charges were pending at that time, would unnecessarily frustrate the public's interest in the investigation of criminal activities. . . ." Maine v. Moulton, ...

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1647 practice notes
  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 5, 2009
    ...were necessary. 451 U.S., at 484, 101 S.Ct. 1880. The Court therefore superimposed a "second layer of prophylaxis," McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 176, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). Edwards held:"[W]hen an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial ......
  • Mata v. Sherman, Case No. 1:13-cv-01040 DAD MJS (HC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • April 22, 2016
    ...does not attach until a prosecution is commenced. United States v. Charley, 396 F.3d 1074, 1082 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing McNeil v. Wis., 501 U.S. 171, 175 (1991). In other words, it attaches "at or after the initiation of adversary judicial criminal proceedings - whether by way of formal cha......
  • Schmidt v. Foster, No. 17-1727
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 29, 2018
    ...investigation himself, but instead decides on the basis of facts and arguments pro and con adduced by the parties." McNeil v. Wisconsin , 501 U.S. 171, 181 n.2, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). Although many countries continue to use inquisitorial systems of factfinding, our Constitu......
  • Marsack v. Howes, No. 00-10395-BC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • January 14, 2004
    ...criminal proceedings by a formal charge, a preliminary hearing, an indictment, an information or an arraignment. See McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 175, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). "It is only at that time `that the government has committed itself to prosecute, and only then......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1645 cases
  • Maryland v. Shatzer, No. 08-680.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 5, 2009
    ...were necessary. 451 U.S., at 484, 101 S.Ct. 1880. The Court therefore superimposed a "second layer of prophylaxis," McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 176, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). Edwards held:"[W]hen an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial ......
  • Mata v. Sherman, Case No. 1:13-cv-01040 DAD MJS (HC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • April 22, 2016
    ...does not attach until a prosecution is commenced. United States v. Charley, 396 F.3d 1074, 1082 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing McNeil v. Wis., 501 U.S. 171, 175 (1991). In other words, it attaches "at or after the initiation of adversary judicial criminal proceedings - whether by way of formal cha......
  • Schmidt v. Foster, No. 17-1727
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 29, 2018
    ...investigation himself, but instead decides on the basis of facts and arguments pro and con adduced by the parties." McNeil v. Wisconsin , 501 U.S. 171, 181 n.2, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). Although many countries continue to use inquisitorial systems of factfinding, our Constitu......
  • Marsack v. Howes, No. 00-10395-BC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • January 14, 2004
    ...criminal proceedings by a formal charge, a preliminary hearing, an indictment, an information or an arraignment. See McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 175, 111 S.Ct. 2204, 115 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991). "It is only at that time `that the government has committed itself to prosecute, and only then......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Rethinking Police Expertise.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 2, November 2021
    • November 1, 2021
    ...114-121. (393.) Sklansky, supra note 118, at 1741 (quoting Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 457 (1966)). (394.) McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 188 (1991) (Stevens, J., (395.) See supra notes 103-108 and accompanying text (discussing internal justifications of interrogation tactics). (3......

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