Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2010/02/24 18:33
The justices unanimously ruled for the state of Maryland in overturning a lower-court decision that had thrown out the confession to the police by a suspect in a child sexual abuse case.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the high court that an initial request for an attorney does not mean the police cannot question a suspect later if the person has been released from custody and decides to confess.
The Supreme Court generally has favored the police and limited the rights of suspects in recent years. On Tuesday, it ruled officers adequately warned a suspect of his legal rights when they told him he could speak to a lawyer before answering any questions.
The latest ruling involved Michael Shatzer, who had been imprisoned in Maryland for child sexual abuse in 2003 when police started investigating allegations he had sexually abused his 3-year-old son. Shatzer requested an attorney and the case went dormant.
Some 2 1/2 years later, the boy was old enough to offer new details. When a different police detective then questioned Shatzer about the case, he was advised of his rights and signed a form waiving them before confessing.