State v. Davis

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-30-2011
  • Case #: S058572
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Landau, J. for the Court; De Muniz, C. J.; Durham, J.; Balmer, J.; Walters, J.; Kistler, J.; and Linder, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The right against self-incrimination prohibits police questioning only when a defendant is in custody or otherwise in compelling circumstances, and the right to counsel bars police questions outside the presence of counsel only once criminal proceedings have begun.

Defendant was investigated for sexual abuse. He retained counsel, who sent a letter to the police invoking defendant’s right to remain silent and directing the police to communicate with defendant’s attorney. Later, the police obtained incriminating statements from defendant without the presence of his counsel through an undercover operation. A trial court concluded that, in light of defendant’s earlier invocation of his rights, the police obtained the incriminating statements in violation of the Oregon Constitution. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, ruling that the right against self-incrimination under Article I, section 12, bars police questioning only when a defendant is in custody or otherwise in compelling circumstances. It further concluded that the right to counsel under Article I, section 11, bars police questions outside the presence of counsel only once criminal proceedings have begun. (The Court noted that criminal proceedings begin, at the earliest, when a suspect is arrested.) Reversed and remanded.

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