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Suspect ask "For a lawyer, dawg." Court says the request is too ambiguous

King Ghidorah King Ghidorah Posts: 904 ✭✭✭✭✭
On Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court declined to hear an important appeal involving the constitutional right to counsel. The case involves a man who’d voluntarily agreed to speak with the police. When Warren Demesme realized that the cops suspected him of child rape, he told them, per the trial court transcript, “I know that I didn’t do it, so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog ‘cause this is not what’s up.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that when a suspect asks for an attorney, the interrogation must end and a lawyer must be provided. But the police disregarded Demesme’s request, and the trial court ruled that the statements he subsequently made can be used to convict him.
Mark Joseph Stern Mark Joseph Stern

Demesme appealed, arguing that his Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to counsel had been violated. A state appeals court held that they were not, and now the state Supreme Court has declined to review that judgment, with only Justice Jefferson Hughes III voting to take Demesme’s appeal. Justice Scott Crichton penned a brief opinion concurring in the court’s decision not to hear the case. He wrote, apparently in absolute seriousness, that “the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a ‘lawyer dog’ does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview.”

Reason’s Ed Krayewski explains that, of course, this assertion is utterly absurd. Demesme was not referring to a dog with a license to practice law, since no such dog exists. Rather, as Krayewski writes, Demesme was plainly speaking in vernacular; his statement would be more accurately transcribed as “why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dawg.” The ambiguity rests in the court transcript, not the suspect’s actual words. Yet Crichton chose to construe Demesme’s statement as requesting Lawyer Dog, Esq., rather than interpreting his words by their plain meaning, transcript ambiguity notwithstanding.

In doing so, Crichton (and the trial court) may well have run afoul of Davis v. United States, the controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent on this matter. In Davis, the suspect had told his interrogators: “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer.” No lawyer was provided, the interview continued, and the suspect made incriminating statements that were later used to secure his conviction. The Supreme Court held that none of this violated the Constitution. It reasoned that, in order to invoke his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, “the suspect must unambiguously request counsel.” The court elaborated:

If the suspect's statement is not an unambiguous or unequivocal request for counsel, the officers have no obligation to stop questioning him. … [H]e must articulate his desire to have counsel present sufficiently clearly that a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.

The constitutional standard, then, is whether “a reasonable police officer in the circumstances” would interpret the suspect’s words as a request for counsel. Demesme’s statement plainly clears this bar. The Davis court was quite explicit that a suspect need not “speak with the discrimination of an Oxford don.” He need only get the point across. Yet because Crichton refused to interpret Demesme’s words as a reasonable police officer surely would, he asserted that no constitutional violation occurred.

Ironically, Crichton’s musing probably makes this case more vulnerable to U.S. Supreme Court review and reversal. The justice unintentionally illustrated a real problem: Courts can manipulate the 'reasonable police officer' standard to conform to their own syntactic preferences

http://www.theroot.com/la-court-rules-that-man-who-said-give-me-a-lawyer-dog-1820157543

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Replies

  • MeesterMeester Smartass Outrage LandPosts: 16,432 ✭✭✭✭✭
    LordZuko wrote: »
    This country is a joke

    Powered by 9(0)'s sun.
    AZTGsilverfoxxBrideofKilla
  • Brian B.Brian B. Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Knowin how these courts operate, not surprisin


    they literally take shit literal, that legal lingo can go a long way
    Young Stefblackrainsilverfoxx
  • farris2k1farris2k1 Posts: 1,775 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Brian B. wrote: »
    Knowin how these courts operate, not surprisin


    they literally take shit literal, that legal lingo can go a long way
    This^^^

  • hueyhuey Posts: 11,701 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Damn I'm angry
    d[-_-]b





    Enoch VI-VII
    Young Stefsilverfoxx
  • Max.Max. Posts: 32,602 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • jetlifebihjetlifebih Posts: 4,569 ✭✭✭✭✭
    LordZuko wrote: »
    This country is a joke

    Interestingly enough , even black people laugh at the idea of “Ebonics” being pushed or asked to be recognized as a language nationally and abroad. This example here is exactly why it needs to be recognized
    silverfoxx
  • babelipsssbabelipsss Posts: 2,447 ✭✭✭✭✭
    His right to an attorney was definitely violated. But child rape? What did he say that hung him? Who was the victim?
    silverfoxx
  • 5 Grand5 Grand Posts: 12,460 ✭✭✭✭✭
    While I agree that they probably knew what he meant, when your getting interrogated for rape, its no time to be using slang.

    In fact, I didn't understand this when I was younger and lost out on a lot of business opportunities, but a good rule of thumb is: never use slang when you're trying to explain something.

    Because you might think you explained it perfectly because you understand the slang that you used, but the person that you explained it to might not have understood what you were saying.

    Its better to use plain English. Even when you're in the hood with your homies, its best to use plain English. There's no ambiguity when you say, "I want a lawyer".
    l3q2V2OBfjNAWtrUc.gif






    soul rattler
  • blakfyahkingblakfyahking The IC's Resident Father Figure Posts: 15,732 ✭✭✭✭✭
    he shouldn't have been running his mouth in the 1st place...........a better defense would have been to argue that he wasn't read his Miranda rights fully

    if he was read his rights, then oh well that's what u get for telling on urself

    can't say I really feel sorry for a child rapist

    tumblr_maj8y0LU9Y1qimbeto1_500.jpg
    semi-auto-mato
  • TheGOATTheGOAT El Coyote unknownPosts: 15,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It really dont matter if u were told your miranda rights or not

    I been arrested a few times and never read my rights. Thats some TV shit
    farris2k1twenty2DoubleShotHelix
  • AP21AP21 Posts: 17,466 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • HafBaykedHafBayked Posts: 16,064 ✭✭✭✭✭
    fucked up but if he was smart enough to ask for a lawyer, it was kinda on him to shut the fuck up at that point

    I dont agree he should be railroaded like that but they cant use shit you DIDNT say
    DoubleShotHelix
  • mryounggunmryounggun Loading up my Grey Matter Glock Posts: 13,400 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hate the railroading but before I climb this hill, I need more details about his case. Not gon fight the good fight for a child rapist

    One thing has nothing to do with the other.
  • mryounggunmryounggun Loading up my Grey Matter Glock Posts: 13,400 ✭✭✭✭✭
    5 Grand wrote: »
    While I agree that they probably knew what he meant, when your getting interrogated for rape, its no time to be using slang.

    In fact, I didn't understand this when I was younger and lost out on a lot of business opportunities, but a good rule of thumb is: never use slang when you're trying to explain something.

    Because you might think you explained it perfectly because you understand the slang that you used, but the person that you explained it to might not have understood what you were saying.

    Its better to use plain English. Even when you're in the hood with your homies, its best to use plain English. There's no ambiguity when you say, "I want a lawyer".


    Then that's where the shit stops. Fuck all that other shit.
    5 GrandKingFreemanyellowtapesport
  • 5 Grand5 Grand Posts: 12,460 ✭✭✭✭✭
    mryounggun wrote: »
    5 Grand wrote: »
    While I agree that they probably knew what he meant, when your getting interrogated for rape, its no time to be using slang.

    In fact, I didn't understand this when I was younger and lost out on a lot of business opportunities, but a good rule of thumb is: never use slang when you're trying to explain something.

    Because you might think you explained it perfectly because you understand the slang that you used, but the person that you explained it to might not have understood what you were saying.

    Its better to use plain English. Even when you're in the hood with your homies, its best to use plain English. There's no ambiguity when you say, "I want a lawyer".


    Then that's where the shit stops. Fuck all that other shit.

    @mryounggun So you think it makes sense to use slang when you're trying to convey an important message?
    l3q2V2OBfjNAWtrUc.gif






  • mryounggunmryounggun Loading up my Grey Matter Glock Posts: 13,400 ✭✭✭✭✭
    5 Grand wrote: »
    mryounggun wrote: »
    5 Grand wrote: »
    While I agree that they probably knew what he meant, when your getting interrogated for rape, its no time to be using slang.

    In fact, I didn't understand this when I was younger and lost out on a lot of business opportunities, but a good rule of thumb is: never use slang when you're trying to explain something.

    Because you might think you explained it perfectly because you understand the slang that you used, but the person that you explained it to might not have understood what you were saying.

    Its better to use plain English. Even when you're in the hood with your homies, its best to use plain English. There's no ambiguity when you say, "I want a lawyer".


    Then that's where the shit stops. Fuck all that other shit.

    @mryounggun So you think it makes sense to use slang when you're trying to convey an important message?

    When did I say that? I'm saying that the man said they knew what he meant...then continue with a bunch of other shit that doesn't change the fact that they knew what he meant. Either they knew what he meant or they didn't. Any faux-justification beyond that is bullshit.
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