Monday, February 21, 2005
Elstad Rule Applies to Sixth Amendment
The Eighth Circuit held last week in U.S. v. Fellers, 01-2045, that a violation of the Sixth Amendment in an initial interrogation does not preclude the admissibility of a second confession taken during a subsequent interrogation after Miranda warnings were provided and waived. The Court stated: "The similarities between the Sixth Amendment context at issue in Fellers's case and the Fifth Amendment context at issue in Elstad support our conclusion that the Elstad rule applies when a suspect makes incriminating statements after a knowing and voluntary waiver of his right to counsel, notwithstanding earlier police questioning in violation of the Sixth Amendment. Although the Supreme Court has never explicitly stated that the Elstad rationale is applicable to Sixth Amendment violations, it has emphasized the similarity between pre-indictment suspects subjected to custodial interrogation and post-indictment defendants subjected to questioning."
Death Row Inmate Entitled to Hearing on Mental Retardation
The Fourth Circuit held last week in Walker v. True, 04-16, that the district court erred when it dismissed plaintiff-death row inmate's successive federal habeas petition before holding an evidentiary hearing on whether he is mentally retarded under Virginia law. [Mark Godsey]