475 U.S. 1099 (1986)

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U.S. Supreme Court

WATKINS v. VIRGINIA , 475 U.S. 1099 (1986)

475 U.S. 1099

Johnny WATKINS, Jr.
No. 85-6324

Supreme Court of the United States

March 31, 1986

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Page 475 U.S. 1099 , 1100

Opinion of Justice STEVENS respecting the denial of the petition for certiorari.

As Justice MARSHALL explains in his dissenting opinion, the violation of petitioner's Fifth Amendment right to counsel requires that the sentence of death for the shooting of Betty Jean Barker be set aside. However, in view of the fact that, as petitioner has presented the issue, this error would not appear to have affected the validity of the conviction or the death sentence for the murder of Carl Douglas Buchanan, I agree with the Court's decision to deny certiorari and allow the error to be corrected in collateral proceedings.

Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.

In the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), this Court held that before police institute custodial interrogation of an individual, they must inform him of his right to consult with counsel. Miranda further required that the police respect the individual's decision to exercise that right. We stated, in clear and mandatory language:

    "If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning. If the individual cannot obtain an attorney and he indicates that he wants one before speaking to police, they must respect his decision to remain silent." Id., at 474.

We reaffirmed that rule in Fare v. Michael C., 442 U.S. 707, 719, 2568 (1979) ("[T]he Court fashioned in Miranda the rigid rule that an accused's request for an attorney is per se an invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights, requiring that all interrogation cease"); see also Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 298, 1688 (1980); Michigan v. Mosley, 423 U.S. 96, 104, n. 10, 326, n. 10 (1975); id., at 109-111-330 (WHITE, J., concurring in result). We refined the rule in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 485, 1885, 68 L. Ed.2d 378 (1981), explaining that the right to counsel, once asserted, cannot be waived "unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police." We emphasized: "[I]t is inconsistent with Miranda and its progeny for the authorities, at their instance, to reinterrogate an accused in custody if he has clearly asserted his right to counsel." Ibid. [475 U.S. 1099 , 1101]

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