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Name: Texas v. Cobb
Case #: 99-1702
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/02/2001
Subsequent History: None

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is “offense specific” and does not necessarily extend to other offenses that are “factually related” to those that have been actually charged. The Owings house was burglarized, and Mrs. Owings and her baby were missing. Cobb had been arrested for the burglary and appointed counsel on that charge. While released on bond, he confessed to his father that he had killed Mrs. Owings. His father in turn notified the police, who administered Miranda warnings, which Cobb waived. Cobb confessed to murdering the mother and child. The Court held that there was no violation of Cobb’s right to counsel on the murder charges, which was specific only to the offense with which he had been charged. The definition of “offense” is not necessarily limited to the four corners of the charging document. The test to determine whether there is one offense or two is whether each statutory provision requires proof of a fact which the other does not. Here capital murder and burglary are not the same offense. (5-4 decision)