A Lawyer Dog And A Red Herring

The Louisiana Supreme Court’s recent decision about a suspect who asked for a lawyer, dawg is laughable. I wouldn’t try to convince anyone that a reasonable police officer in the situation would think the fellow was asking for a canine of any sort – that’s patently absurd, regardless of Crichton’s Writ of Centiorari.

Ironically, resting on the phrase ‘lawyer dog/dawg’ may allow appeal. The appellate court would observe evidence determining if the findings of fact are erroneous – and these facts are clearly erroneous. There are probably hundreds of hours of American Idol video where a judge is clearly talking to a contestant and not a dog. The suspect’s entire statement — “if y’all, this is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog cause this is not what’s up.” (yes, the court transcript misrepresented the slang term dawg as dog and spawned the whole foray into canine litigators) — might reasonably be considered equivocal. A request like “maybe I should talk to a lawyer”, per Davis v. United States, did not count as invoking right to council. The request in this case, correcting the transcription error, was “I know that I didn’t do it, so why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dawg, ’cause this is not what’s up”. It’s not quite as easily construed as a procedural question (e.g. “Ain’t there supposed to be a lawyer in here or something with y’all?” in Nebraska V Relford (2000) … but it’s not “I want to speak with a lawyer” either. Maybe the SC will agree to hear the appeal and we can debate the proper questionable phrase in his request.

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