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Florida v. Powell, USSC No. 08-1175, 2/23/10

USSC decision

In a pathmarking decision, Miranda v. Arizona , 384 U. S. 436, 471 (1966) , the Court held that an individual must be “clearly informed,” prior to custodial questioning, that he has, among other rights, “the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation.” The question presented in this case is whether advice that a suspect has “the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of [the law enforcement officers’] questions,” and that he can invoke this right “at any time … during th[e] interview,” satisfies Miranda . We hold that it does.

State courts are free, the Court reminds, to decide cases purely under state law, and when they do so, the result is immune from federal review. However, a presumption applies that the state court decision rests on the federal constitution unless “the state court decision indicates clearly and expressly that it is alternatively based on bona fide separate, adequate, and independent grounds.”

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