Type Of Questioning That Triggers Right To Counsel Widened

1977

In Brewer v. Williams, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel applies not only when police formally interrogate suspects but also when they casually speak with the defendant and intentionally discuss topics that they know are likely to provoke the defendant to make incriminating statements. In this case, the defendant was in custody for allegedly kidnapping a 10-year-old girl, and police knew that the defendant was deeply religious. While taking the defendant from court to jail, and without counsel present, the police told the defendant that the girl’s parents deserved to give her a “Christian burial.” The Court rules that the defendant’s incriminating statements about the location of the body could not be admitted at trial because they were the result of unconstitutional questioning.