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Name: United States v. Younger
Case #: 04-10206
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/01/2005

A defendant’s spontaneous statements and responses to questions may be interpreted as an implied waiver of Miranda rights. During a valid search of his home, the defendant was arrested and advised of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney, and acknowledged both rights. He did not expressly waive his right to an attorney but spontaneously admitted that drugs seized in the house belonged to him and not to another occupant, and later continued to respond to questions at the police station. The appellate court found that the circumstances were sufficient to overcome the presumption against waiver. Further, the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court finding that the defendant’s statements regarding an attorney were ambiguous and insufficient to require the officers to stop questioning him. The defendant had asked, “But excuse me, if I am right, I can have a lawyer present through all this, right?” At that point the officers had reiterated his Miranda rights, and defendant had stated that he understood those rights, and then the officers had continued to question him. The Ninth Circuit found that this did not constitute an unambiguous invocation of the right to counsel.