Saturday, November 2, 2013

Brewer v. Williams case brief

Brewer v. Williams case brief summary
430 U.S. 387 (1977)

The Court granted certiorari to determine whether the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was correct in determining that respondent was entitled to a new trial due to the deprivation of the right to counsel.

Respondent was arrested for the abduction of a missing girl. His attorney advised him that police officers would be transporting him to another city, that the officers would not interrogate him, and that he should not talk to the officers until consulting with the attorney. After respondent's arraignment, another attorney similarly advised respondent. The officers gave respondent Miranda warnings. During the trip, respondent expressed no willingness to be interrogated. In the car, one officer discussed how expected snow might make recovery of the body and a Christian burial impossible, and that respondent was the only one who knew where the body was. Respondent eventually led the officers to the body.

  • The Court held that respondent was entitled to a new trial because he was deprived of the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel, as judicial proceedings had been initiated against him before the start of the car ride, and the officer deliberately set out to elicit information from him when he was entitled to the assistance of counsel. 
  • Respondent did not waive his right to counsel because he consistently relied upon the advice of counsel in dealing with the authorities.


The Court affirmed and held that respondent was entitled to a new trial because he was deprived of the right to assistance of counsel.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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