5. When has a suspect "initiated" the further conversation?" In its Edwards
decision, the Supreme Court ruled that once a suspect has asked for a lawyer,
he is not subject to further interrogation until counsel is provided UNLESS the
suspect himself has initiated the further dialogue, or conversation, with the
police. In Wyrick v. Fields, 459 US 42 74 L.Ed.2d 214 86 SCt. 1602 (1982), the
suspect was charged with rape. After discussing the case with his lawyer, he
asked for a polygraph examination.
The CID conducted the examination, after
first again advising the suspect of his rights, and obtaining his consent to
take the examination. The suspect waived his rights. After being told he had
failed the examination, the suspect confessed.
On appeal, the Supreme Court
ruled that "when the suspect has initiated the dialogue... the right to have a
lawyer present can be waived."
By requesting the polygraph, the suspect
himself had "initiated interrogation." The defense also argued that the police
violated the suspect's rights by not AGAIN advising him of his rights before
the posttest interview. The Supreme Court disagreed:
"Disconnecting the polygraph equipment effectuated no significant
change in the character of the interrogation... it would have been
unreasonable for (the suspect) and his attorneys to assume that (the
suspect) would not be informed of the polygraph readings and asked
to explain any unfavorable results... The questions put to (the
suspect) after the examination would not have caused him to forget
the rights of which he had been advised and which he had understood
a. The problem surfaced again in Oregon v. Bradshaw, 462 US 1039 77
L.Ed.2d 405 103 SCt 2830 (1983).
There, the questioning was immediately
stopped when the suspect said, "I do want an attorney before it goes much
further." While the suspect was being transferred to the county jail, however,
he asked a police officer, "well, what is going to happen to me now?"
police officer answered: "You do not have to talk to me. You have requested an
attorney and I do not want you talking to me unless you so desire because
anything you say -- because -- since you have requested an attorney, you know,
it has to be at your own free will." The suspect said he understood, and there
then followed a "discussion" concerning where the suspect would be taken and
the offense with which he would be charged. The police officer suggested that
the suspect might help himself by taking a polygraph examination. The suspect
"agreed to take such an examination, saying that he was willing to do whatever
he could to clear up the matter." The next day, after being again advised of
his rights, he was given the examination. He was told he failed, and then he
b. On appeal, the Supreme Court explained that the question, "well, what
is going to happen to me now?" was asked prior to the suspect being subjected
to any further interrogation by the authorities.
The court explained that
Edwards simply held that the suspect is not subject to further interrogation
"unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or
conversations with the police." The rule is designed to protect the accused