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Name: Anderson v. Terhune
Case #: 04-17237
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 11/08/2006

Where a defendant’s attempted invocation of his right to remain silent was ambiguous, the officer’s subsequent questioning seeking clarification did not violate Miranda rights. During a police interrogation, Anderson stated “I don’t even wanna talk about this no more,” “Uh! I’m though with this,” and “I plead the Fifth.” The state court concluded that while Anderson articulated words that could, in isolation, be viewed as an invocation of his right to remain silent, given the totality of the circumstances, Anderson did not intend to terminate the interview. The appellate court here held that the state court’s factual and legal conclusion that authorities did not violate Anderson’s constitutional right to remain silent was not an unreasonable determination in light of the evidence presented, and that there is not clearly established federal law to the contrary. The court further held that Anderson validly waived his right to counsel when after invoking that right he clarified that he was “just joking” and stated “I don’t want an attorney.” It also held that the record does not support a finding of an involuntary confession, that Anderson was not prevented from presenting evidence of the physical and psychological environment that yielded the confession, and that any exclusion of purported expert testimony of Anderson’s self-image and other aspects of the voluntariness of the confession, if error, was harmless. Judge McKeown dissented from the majority’s view that there was some ambiguity in Anderson’s unequivocal invocation of the Fifth Amendment such that clarifying questions were permitted. The continued questioning violated the Supreme Court’s bright-line rule established in Miranda v. Arizona, and thus the state court’s conclusion to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clear Supreme Court precedent and an unreasonable determination of the facts.