FIELDS v. WYRICK
Annotate this Case
464 U.S. 1020 (1983)
U.S. Supreme Court
FIELDS v. WYRICK , 464 U.S. 1020 (1983)
464 U.S. 1020
Donald W. WYRICK, Warden
Supreme Court of the United States
December 12, 1983
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.
Justice MARSHALL, dissenting.
Last Term, this Court summarily reversed a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which ruled that petitioner's 1975 Missouri rape conviction was based on an involuntary statement taken in violation of petitioner's Fifth Amendment rights. Wyrick v. Fields, ___ U.S. ___ (1982), rev'g 682 F.2d 154 (1982). I dissented from that summary reversal because I do not believe this Court should decide unsettled questions of constitutional law without plenary review. Id., at ___. In my dissent, I noted that, even if petitioner's statement were voluntary under the Fifth Amendment, the interrogation that produced petitioner's statement might nevertheless have violated petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Id., at ___ - ___-400.
On remand, the Eighth Circuit considered this issue and concluded that petitioner had knowingly and intelligently waived his Sixth Amendment right to have counsel present during the interrogation. Fields v. Wyrick, 706 F.2d 879 (CA8 1983). Because I disagree with the manner in which the Eighth Circuit analyzed petitioner's Sixth Amendment claim, I would grant certiorari and set the case for oral argument.
Petitioner, a soldier undergoing basic training in Missouri, was charged with rape. After consulting with counsel, petitioner told his company commander that he wanted to take a polygraph test. Petitioner was under the impression that if he "passed" a polygraph test, the charges against him would be dropped, and he would be permitted to graduate from basic training on schedule. 682 F.2d, at 160, n. 10. Petitioner's counsel shared this impression and later testified that he thought "the polygraph would have merely shown deceit or non-deceit and would have been used for the purposes of a possible pre-trial negotiation." Id., at 160. Accordingly petitioner's counsel advised him to take the test.
Days later when the test was given, petitioner's counsel was not notified. The military officer in charge of the examination simply informed petitioner of his rights to refuse to answer any questions or to have counsel present, and petitioner signed a document 1 waiving those rights. See State v. Fields, 538 S.W.2d 348 (Mo.Ct.App.1976). Throughout the polygraph examination, petitioner professed his innocence. After the examination was over, however, the officer administering the test informed petitioner that the machine revealed "some deceit" and asked petitioner for an explanation. The officer did not tell petitioner that the results of polygraph tests were inadmissible in Missouri courts, nor did the officer remind petitioner of his right to have counsel present during this post-examination interrogation. Petitioner then said that he had had consensual sexual relations with the rape victim on the day of the alleged rape. The officer immediately summoned the local chief of police. After receiving a Miranda warning from the police chief, petitioner repeated his statement. At trial, this statement was the heart of the State's successful prosecution. [464 U.S. 1020 , 1022]