Vaughters' position to be under such "inherently compelling pressures" as to
need any special protection. They found that the AFOSI-initiated interrogation
of SSgt Vaughters after this passage of 19 days did not violate his right to
counsel. Accused's subsequent waiver of rights and confession were proper and
legally admissible according to the Air Force Court.
MRE 305(g)(2)(C) is also new and conforms military practice with the
Supreme Court's decision in Michigan v. Jackson, 475 US 625, 636 (1986). In
Jackson, the Court provided that the accused or suspect can validly waive his
or her Sixth Amendment right to counsel, after having previously asserted that
right, by initiating the subsequent interrogation leading to the waiver. The
Court differentiated between assertions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendment right
to counsel by holding that, while exercise of the former barred further
interrogation concerning the same or other offenses in the absence of counsel,
the Sixth Amendment protection only attaches to those offenses as to which the
right was originally asserted.
In addition, while continuous custody would
serve to invalidate a subsequent waiver of a Fifth Amendment right to counsel,
the existence or lack of continuous custody is irrelevant to Sixth Amendment
rights. The latter vest once formal proceedings are instituted by the State
and the accused asserts his right to counsel, and they serve to ensure that the
accused is afforded the right to counsel to serve as a buffer between the
accused and the State.
PART O - THE VOLUNTARINESS STANDARD
1. General. Even if a suspect has been advised of his rights and has waived
them, any statement that he makes must still be voluntary in order to be
admissible. A statement is "involuntary" if it has been obtained in violation
of the Fifth Amendment/Article 31 "or through the use of coercion, unlawful
influence, or unlawful inducement" (MRE 304(c) (3).
In other words, simply
because you have advised the suspect of his rights and he has waived them, this
does not mean that you can now do, literally, anything that you want to. There
are still limits, and you need to know what they are. The issue is whether the
interrogator's actions are such "as to overbear the defendant's will to resist,
and bring about confessions not freely self-determined." U.S. v. St. Clair, 19
MJ 833 (NMCMR, 1984). In Miller v. Fenton, 474 US 104, 88LEd2d 405, 106SCt 445
(1985), the Supreme Court stated that "certain interrogation techniques, either
in isolation or as applied to the unique circumstances of a particular suspect,
are so offensive to a civilized system of justice that they must be condemned."
Confessions that have been obtained "by means revolting to the sense of
justice" are not admissible.
Coercion (the negative influences).
a. A classic case is Beecher v. Alabama, 389 US 35, 19 L.Ed.2d 35, 88 SCt
189 (1967). The defendant was suspected of rape and murder in Alabama. Shot
in the leg while running into an open field in Tennessee a confession was
obtained in the following manner:
"The local chief of police pressed a loaded gun to his face while
another officer pointed a rifle against the side of his head. The