Thursday, May 12, 2016

KYSC - Law Enforcement Cannot Question a Defendant Represented by Counsel

Kentucky Rejects Montejo v. Louisiana under Section 11 of the State Constitution, retains Michigan v. Jackson rule. 

In Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625 (1986), the United States Supreme Court said that after a defendant asserts his right to counsel “at an arraignment or similar proceeding,” any waiver of that right at any subsequent police-initiated interrogation is invalid.  This was an important protection of the right to counsel.  Jackson was adopted by the Kentucky Supreme Court in Linehan v. Commonwealth, 878 S.W.2d 8 (Ky. 1994).  

In 2009,  Jackson was overturned by Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778 (2009). In Montejo, the Supreme Court decided that a defendant, charged with murder and represented by counsel, may nevertheless be approached by police for interrogation without the knowledge or presence of his attorney as long as the police obtain a Miranda waiver.  

In this case, the defendant entered a conditional guilty plea, urging the Kentucky Supreme Court to retain the Jackson rule on state constitutional grounds. The court reversed, stating “[a]lthough our embrace of Jackson in Linehan did not explicitly reference Section 11 of the Kentucky Constitution, we implicitly found Jackson to be in accord with the right to counsel under Section 11 and we expressly do so now.” “Moreover, maintaining and protecting the integrity of the attorney-client relationship is an important public policy of this Commonwealth.” As such, the court rejects the Montejo rule allowing law enforcement to question a defendant represented by counsel.

The trial attorney was David Perlow.  Represented on appeal by  Erin Hoffman Yang