I’m not a criminal defense lawyer and I don’t practice criminal law. However, when I was in law school and while studying for the bar exam, I used to drill my then-teenage daughter, “You don’t have a Constitutional right to a parent. You only have a Constitutional right to an attorney. You must be unequivocal in your request for an attorney. You cannot say, ‘Do you think I need an attorney?’ ‘Maybe I should get an attorney?’ You must say, ‘I-WANT-AN-ATTORNEY!’ in clear language.” All that came out in one-long sentence, without pausing for breath. Below is a story from the ABA Journal that explains why, when in trouble, you must say clearly, “I WANT AN ATTORNEY” for your Constitutional right for one to kick in. – Roxanne
9th Circuit: By Telling Cops of Dad’s Advice to Get a Lawyer, Suspect Didn’t Actually Ask for Lawyer
Posted Jun 9, 2011 7:16 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Tio Dinero Sessoms was recorded on video when, after being arrested in 1999, he told Sacramento homicide detectives that his dad “asked me to ask you guys–uh, get me a lawyer.”
But a California court had an adequate basis for deciding that Sessoms’ relaying to police of his father’s advice wasn’t the same as actually asking for counsel for himself, a divided panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week. It hence upheld the use in evidence of Sessoms’ subsequent post-Miranda admissions to authorities and denied his habeas corpus petition concerning his felony-murder conviction.
Read the rest of the story here: 9th Circuit: By Telling Cops of Dad’s Advice to Get a Lawyer, Suspect Didn’t Actually Ask for Lawyer – News – ABA Journal.