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Name: United States v. Loucious
Case #: 16-10121
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/07/2017

Although police did not inform suspect that he had the right to consult with an attorney before questioning, the district court erred by suppressing subsequent admissions pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436. Before interrogating Loucious for a firearms offense, officers informed him that he had the right to remain silent, that anything he said could be used against him, that he had the right to an attorney during questioning, and that if he could not afford an attorney one would be appointed before questioning. Thereafter, Loucious made an admission. Before trial, he moved to suppress his statements, arguing that he had not been advised of his right to consult with an attorney before questioning. The district court agreed and granted the suppression motion. The government appealed. Held: Reversed. Among other things, Miranda requires that officers advise a suspect that he has the right to consult with an attorney before custodial interrogation begins. The advisements given in this case were sufficient to inform Loucious of his right to consult with an attorney prior to questioning. Although he was never told that he could “consult” with an attorney “prior” to questioning, he was informed that he would be appointed an attorney before questioning and that he was entitled to have the attorney present during questioning. No more was required as the Supreme Court has held that a “talismanic incantation” of Miranda rights is unnecessary. (California v. Prysock (1981) 453 U.S. 355, 359.) Loucious’s contention that the warnings only conveyed to him that a lawyer would be appointed before questioning for the sole purpose of being present during questioning is unreasonable. “It makes no sense to think that a suspect who is appointed counsel before questioning would not be permitted to consult with that attorney before questioning began.” The district court erred by concluding otherwise.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: