Dig Baton Rouge

La. Supreme Court says asking for a “lawyer dog” doesn’t count

Did you ask for a “lawyer dog”, or a “lawyer, dawg”?

According to the Louisiana Supreme Court, you better be very clear about which one you want when talking to police.

Louisiana’s Supreme Court chose not to hear an appeal from a man accused of raping a child who said he asked for a lawyer – specifically, “just give me a lawyer dog” – because they ruled the request was “ambiguous.”

Justices voted 6-1 to affirm a lower court ruling denying a writ from 24-year-old Warren Demesme, who claimed during a 2015 interview with police he invoked his right to counsel and was ignored. Police arrested Demesme on charges of first-degree rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile younger than 13, and said during the interview he admitted to sexually assaulting one of the accusers.

Demesme asked the courts to exclude the statement in his upcoming trial because it happened after he claims he asked for a lawyer and was ignored. According to transcripts, Demesme said “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.”

Justice Scott Crichton wrote a concurring opinion to the decision, noting Demesme voluntarily spoke to police twice and waived his Miranda rights both times.

“In my view, the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a ‘lawyer dog’ does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview,” Crichton said.

Law blogs mocked the court’s 6-1 decision, saying the justices’ written interpretation of Demesme’s spoken comments ignored a clear intent that he wished for a lawyer.

Demesme could face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the rape charge.

Image: WikiCommons


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