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Name: People v. Gonzalez
Case #: S122240
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 01/24/2005
Summary

Before submitting to a polygraph exam during a custodial interrogation, appellant said “If for anything you guys are going to charge me I want to talk to a public defender too, for any little thing.” The police assured him he could talk to an attorney but that they planned to book him, and would release him if he passed the polygraph. The interrogation continued that evening and the following day, and appellant ultimately confessed to murder. The Court of Appeal concluded that the statement was a sufficiently clear request for counsel and that the police at a minimum should have asked him to clarify whether he wanted an attorney. The Supreme Court granted review and reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal. Appellant’s statement was ambiguous and equivocal, and the police were not required to ask clarifying questions to determine his intent.