Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

I am pretty upset about the latest Supreme Court ruling of Montejo v. Louisiana. For those who don't know the story, Mr. Montejo was suspected in the murder of his former boss. They arrested him, mirandized him, then started questioning him. Here's the NY Times summary of the rest of the story:

"At a preliminary hearing, a judge ordered that a public defender be appointed. The timing is in dispute, but at some point Mr. Montejo was read his Miranda rights again and agreed to accompany detectives to locate the murder weapon, which he had indicated that he had thrown into a lake.

During the trip, he wrote a letter of apology to the victim’s widow, using paper and pen provided by the detectives. Only upon his return did Mr. Montejo meet with his lawyer, who was furious that his client had been questioned in his absence, and was further incensed when the letter was admitted as evidence at trial."

Let me get this straight - The guy is informed of his right to counsel, but is transported by the police to search for the murder weapon, disregarding the availability of the lawyer for the accused. And then they get him to sign a letter of apology to the victim's mother. All without his attorney present. - And when the High Court hears this, the majority decide that the police weren't obligated to have their interactions with the accused monitored by a defense attorney at all times.

This seems like they are suggesting that the law is only there to protect people who are smart enough or savvy enough to keep their mouth's shut and let their lawyer represent them. Isn't this why the 6th Amendment was written, to protect the citizens from the power of The State? Are we not morally and ethically duty-bound to protect those who are unable to fully protect themselves? Doesn't the US Constitution clearly establish safeguards for an accused?

This is a very dangerous precedent. The minute we start to chip away at the structure of the Constitution, we provide our government with far greater power over us. Now the burden upon our heads is far greater - we citizens should be able to take sanctuary in the law, not have to arm ourselves against it.

Where is justice born, in the heart or in the head?