Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Supreme Court Puts 14-day Limit on Invoking Counsel

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today, that a confession made by a Maryland man, accused of sexually assaulting his son, is admissible even though it came two-and-one-half years after he requested an attorney.

The lower court had suppressed his confession saying his return to prison directly from his custodial interrogation was not sufficient to break custody and invalidate his request for counsel.

The High Court went further and created a time limit to invoke the protections of Miranda in the lower courts. According to the Associated Press, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said enough time had passed between the first and second interrogations of the defendant, even though he was being held in prison.

Scalia said the high court thought it was "impractical" to let lower courts decide the time period for lawyer requests on a case-by-case basis.

"In our judgment, 14 days will provide plenty of time for the suspect to get reacclimated to his normal life, to consult with friends and counsel and to shake off any residual coercive effects of his prior custody," Scalia said.

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