United States Supreme Court
474 U.S. 159 (1985)
Moulton (defendant) and co-defendant Colson were arrested under suspicion of receiving stolen property. After being released on bail, the two defendants met and Moulton suggested killing a key witness. After the meeting, Colson gave a full confession. The police offered Colson immunity from any further prosecution in exchange for cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of Moulton. Colson agreed and the police installed a recording device on his telephone. Colson had three telephone conversations with Moulton. When Moulton arranged to meet Colson in person, the police asked Colson to wear a hidden recording device. The police told Colson not to actively question Moulton about his involvement in the alleged crimes. During the conversation, Colson brought up Moulton’s previous suggestion about killing witnesses. After Moulton stated that he did not think that killing witnesses would work, the conversation turned to the development of false alibis. The conversation about alibis involved extensive discussion of the defendants’ criminal activities. Colson encouraged Moulton to give details of several criminal acts by pretending not to remember certain details and by instigating the exchange of stories relating to particular crimes. The recording was admitted into evidence during Moulton’s trial. Moulton was convicted and appealed his conviction through the state courts. The state supreme court reversed his conviction on grounds that admission of the recorded statements into evidence violated Moulton’s Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel. The State of Maine appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)
Dissent (Burger, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 238,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.