The Relationship between the Sixth Amendment and Police Interrogation
March 27, 2014
BREWER v. WILLIAMS (WILLIAMS I), 430 U.S. 387, 97 S.CT. 1232, 51 L.Ed 424 (1977). The deceased, Pamela Powers, was on a family vacation at the YMCA in Des Moines, Iowa. A search was made in the attempt to find Powers when she did not arrive back from her trip to the washroom. The defendant, Robert Williams, was an escaped mental patient who resided in the YMCA where Powers’ family went for their vacation. A witness spotted the defendant carrying a large bundle with two white legs sticking out. The defendant’s lawyer stepped into a De Moines police station where he informs the police officers he received a phone call from Williams on what he had done. The lawyer, Henry McKnight, advised Williams to turn himself in which he did the next morning. He was booked and charged by Davenport authorities and given his Miranda Warnings. Williams had council in Davenport as well. Police Detective Leaming was ordered to pick up Williams from Davenport and bring him to Des Moines. Both lawyers urged Williams to not speak about Pamela Powers with the officers in the car ride until after consulted with McKnight in Des Moines. An agreement was made between McKnight and Detective Leaming that Leaming would not question the defendant without counsel regarding to the deceased during the trip. Both Leaming and Williams were reminded multiple times to not talk about Ms. Powers until council was present. During the trip back to Des Moines, Williams tells the office that he will tell the whole story when he sees his lawyer. The Detective used his knowledge of the defendant’s religious background to deliver his “Christian burial speech.” This speech suggested that Williams should confess where the body of Powers was so that her family can have a proper Christian burial. After this speech the defendant directed the officer where the body could be found.
One of the questions that was brought to the court was whether or not the Christian burial speech tantamount to an interrogation which entitled him right to counsel, such that with the absent of counsel violated his sixth amendment right (Kamisar, LaFave, Israel, King, Kerr & Primus,2012, p.741). The court replied yes, the Christian burial speech was tantamount to interrogation (Kamisar, LaFave, Israel, King, Kerr & Primus,2012, p.741). William’s lawyer suggested to accompany his client on the ride to Des Moines but was denied by the detective (Kamisar, LaFave, Israel, King, Kerr & Primus,2012, p.740). The officer was reminded multiple times by the defendant’s lawyer to not speak of the deceased until William’s lawyer from Des Moines was present. The officer purposely said the Christian burial speech in hoping to find out as much information he can get in the car ride (Kamisar, LaFave, Israel, King, Kerr & Primus,2012, p.742). The officer was aware that the defendant was initiated to an...