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Montejo v. Louisiana

United States Supreme Court
129 S.Ct. 2079 (2009)


While investigating the murder of Ferrari, police wanted to question Montejo (defendant), the known associate of the main suspect. Montejo waived his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) and was subsequently interrogated by police for several hours at the sheriff’s office. Montejo changed his story several times and finally admitted that he had killed Ferrari. He was brought before a judge, and a lawyer was appointed for him even though he had not expressly asked for one. That same day, two detectives visited Montejo and requested that he accompany them, to find the murder weapon. He was again given his Miranda rights, and he agreed to help. During the trip he wrote an inculpatory letter of apology to the widow of Ferrari. On his return to prison, Montejo met with his court-appointed lawyer. At trial, the letter was admitted into evidence over the defense’s objection, and Montejo was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. The lower court had found that Montejo’s waiver was knowing and voluntary and that the rule articulated in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981), and Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625 (1986), was inapplicable because Montejo never expressly asked for an attorney.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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