Ambiguous request for counsel

Result – statements suppressed, and will be in the 9th because of Sessoms v. Runnels, No. 08-17790, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17206 (9th Cir. 2012)  Wow.  What about Davis v. United States?

Davis doesn’t apply because the ambiguous request came BEFORE the accused was advised of his Miranda rights.  So, why isn’t there a similar situation for an accused who makes an ambiguous request prior to Article 31, UCMJ, warnings.

Nonetheless, a critical factual distinction between Sessoms’s statements and those evaluated by the Court in both Davis and  Berghuis  remains: Sessoms made his statements before he was informed of his rights under  Miranda. The Miranda Court held that the coercive atmosphere of interrogation makes it essential for a suspect to be  “given a full and effective warning of his rights at the outset of the interrogation process.” 384 U.S. at 445.  As the Court stressed, when “the police [have] not advised the defendant of his constitutional privilege . . . at the outset of the interrogation,” the suspect’s  “abdication of [that] constitutional privilege—the choice on his part to speak to the police—[is] not made knowingly or competently because of the failure to apprise him of his rights.” Id. at 465 (citing Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964)).

Frankly this is a real world interaction and accounts for real world talk not fully appreciated, or perhaps ignored in Davis.  The police here did what they often do and told the accused that having a lawyer wouldn’t help.  True, it’s the 9th, the most slapped down circuit.