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Last Monday, March 17th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Rothgery v. Gillespie County, TX (07-440). In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court will clarify when an arrested person’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches. In resolving this issue, the Court must balance the accused person’s liberty interests with law enforcement officials’ interest in retaining effective investigatory techniques. Upholding the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit would maintain a bright-line standard concerning the right to counsel and permit a wide scope of permissible police investigatory tactics. However, this standard could easily be abused and undermine the very rights that the Sixth Amendment was intended to protect. Regardless of outcome, this case will have a profound impact on the efficiency and costs of administering criminal adjudicatory proceedings.

The full analysis, including a comprehensive set of links to briefs on both sides of the argument, is here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/07-440.html.