Oregon v. Bradshaw
Annotate this Case
462 U.S. 1039 (1983)
U.S. Supreme Court
Oregon v. Bradshaw, 462 U.S. 1039 (1983)
Oregon v. Bradshaw
Argued March 28, 1983
Decided June 23, 1983
462 U.S. 1039
During the investigation of the death of a person whose body had been found in his wrecked pickup truck, respondent was questioned at the police station, where he was advised of his Miranda rights, and later arrested for furnishing liquor to the victim, a minor, and again advised of his Miranda rights. Respondent denied his involvement, and asked for an attorney. Subsequently, while being transferred from the police station to a jail, respondent inquired of a police officer, "Well, what is going to happen to me now?" The officer answered that respondent did not have to talk to him, and respondent said he understood. There followed a discussion between respondent and the officer as to where respondent was being taken and the offense with which he would be charged. The officer suggested that respondent take a polygraph examination, which he did, after another reading of his Miranda rights. When the examiner told respondent that he did not believe respondent was telling the truth, respondent recanted his earlier story and admitted that he had been driving the truck in question and that he had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol and had passed out at the wheel of the truck before it left the highway. Respondent was charged with first-degree manslaughter, driving while under the influence of intoxicants, and driving while his license was revoked. His motion to suppress his statements admitting his involvement was denied, and he was found guilty after a bench trial. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the inquiry respondent made of the police officer while being transferred to jail did not "initiate" a conversation with the officer, and that therefore the statements growing out of this conversation should have been excluded from evidence under Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U. S. 477.
Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.
54 Ore.App. 949, 636 P.2d 1011, reversed and remanded.
JUSTICE REHNQUIST, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE WHITE, and JUSTICE O'CONNOR, concluded that respondent's Fifth Amendment rights were not violated. Pp. 462 U. S. 1044-1047.
(a) The Oregon Court of Appeals misapprehended the test laid down in Edwards, where it was held that, after the right to counsel has been asserted by an accused, further interrogation should not take place "unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations
with the police." 451 U.S. at 451 U. S. 485. It was not held in that case that the "initiation" of a conversation by an accused such as respondent would amount to a waiver of a previously invoked right to counsel. The Oregon court erred in thinking that an "initiation" of a conversation by an accused not only satisfied the Edwards rule, but, ex proprio vigore, suffices to show a waiver of the previously asserted right to counsel. Pp. 1044-1045.
(b) Here, in asking "Well, what is going to happen to me now?" respondent "initiated" further conversation. His statement evinced a willingness and a desire for a generalized discussion about the investigation, and was not merely a necessary inquiry arising out of the incidents of the custodial relationship. Pp. 462 U. S. 1045-10466.
(c) Since there was no violation of the Edwards rule in this case, the next inquiry is whether, in light of the totality of the circumstances, respondent made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to have counsel present. The trial court, based on its firsthand observation of the witnesses, found a waiver; there is no reason to dispute that finding. Pp. 462 U. S. 1046-1047.
JUSTICE POWELL concluded that a two-step analysis is unnecessary. In the circumstances of the case, it is sufficient that respondent knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel. Pp. 462 U. S. 1050-1051.
REHNQUIST, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 462 U. S. 1047. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined, post, p. 462 U. S. 1051.