Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that a defendant's request for a lawyer may not be used as evidence of guilt. Tayfun Okatan was convicted on three counts relating to illegally bringing a German citizen into the US. When detained by an officer and asked whether he was attempting to bring someone into the country, Okatan requested a lawyer. The lower court barred the admission of all conversation that took place after his request was denied. The prosecution was, however, permitted to present the request itself as evidence against Okatan. The appeals court ruled that the prosecution's use of his request as evidence against him violated Okatan's Fifth Amendment [text] rights.