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Name: People v. Nguyen
Case #: G033973
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/30/2005

An arrestee’s invocation of the right to counsel during her arrest was invalid and did not invalidate her subsequent waiver of her Miranda rights. Defendant was a passenger in a car that was subject to a traffic stop. After officers decided to impound the car, they found drugs in the car and informed the defendant that she was under arrest. She announced her intention to call a lawyer on a cell phone as officers were attempting to handcuff her. An officer confiscated the cell phone, and defendant was transported to the police station. About fifteen to twenty minutes later, defendant was advised of her Miranda rights, which she waived. She then made several damaging admissions. In affirming the denial of defendant’s motion to suppress those statements, the court held that an invocation of the Miranda right to counsel must be asserted when interrogation is imminent. At the time that the defendant announced her intention to call a lawyer, no officer had yet attempted to interrogate her. Further, a reasonable officer would not have interpreted her request as unequivocal, because there was no indication that she intended to summon a lawyer to assist her with any impending interrogation. Thus, the second Miranda waiver was valid and the defendant’s rights were not violated.