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North Carolina v. Butler

United States Supreme Court
441 U.S. 369 (1979)


Facts

Butler (defendant) was arrested and convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, and felonious assault. After his arrest, Butler was given his Miranda warnings. He was also given a form to read outlining his rights. When asked, Butler said that he understood his rights. He refused to sign the form indicating that he waived his rights, but agreed to talk to the agents and made self-incriminating statements. Butler never requested an attorney or tried to stop the agent’s questions. Butler sought to have his statements excluded from evidence, arguing that he had not waived his right to counsel at the time the statements were made. The trial court denied the motion, holding that Butler effectively waived his right when he agreed to answer the agents’ questions. The state supreme court reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial, holding that Butler never waived his rights because he never made an express statement that that was his intent.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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