Connecticut v. Barrett Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Respondent William Barrett, while in custody on suspicion of sexual assault, was advised three times of hisrights by the police. On each occasion, after signing and dating an acknowledgment that he had been given those rights, Barrett indicated to the police that he would not make a written statement, but that he was willing to talk about the incident that led to his arrest. On the second and third such occasions, Barrett added that he would not make a written statement outside the presence of counsel, but then orally admitted his involvement in the sexual assault. One of the police officers reduced to writing his recollection of Barrett’s last such statement, and the confession was introduced into evidence at Barrett’s trial. The trial court refused to suppress the confession, finding that Barrett had fully understood thewarnings and had voluntarily waived his right to counsel. Barrett’s conviction of sexual assault,, was reversed by the Connecticut Supreme Court, which held that his expressed desire for counsel before making a written statement constituted an invocation of his right to counsel for all purposes, that he had not waived that right by initiating further discussion with the police, and that therefore the incriminating statement was improperly admitted into evidence under. The State filed a petition for certiorari review.


“A Tennessee law made it an aggravating circumstance during sentencing if a murder had been “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.” Did the state supreme court interpret that sufficiently narrowly, so that it did not run afoul of the Eighth Amendment?”



Case Information

Citation: 479 US 523 (1987)
Argued: Dec 9, 1986
Decided: Jan 27, 1987
Case Brief: 1987