TEXAS v. COBB

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
99-1702
Petitioner 
Texas
Respondent 
Cobb
Advocates
(Austin, Texas, argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of the court, supporting the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

In 1994, while under arrest for an unrelated offense, Raymond Levi Cobb confessed to a home burglary. Cobb, however, denied knowledge of the disappearance of a woman and child from the home. In 1995, after counsel was appointed to represent him in the burglary case, Cobb confessed to killing the woman and child to his father, who contacted the police. Cobb, now in custody, waived his rights under Miranda and confessed to the murders. Cobb was then indicted, convicted, and sentenced to death. On appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Cobb argued that his confession should have been suppressed because it was obtained in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, which he claimed attached when counsel was appointed in the burglary case. In reversing, the court held that once the right to counsel attaches to the offense charged, it also attaches to any other offense that is very closely factually related to the offense charged.

Question 

Does the Sixth Amendment right to counsel extend to crimes that are "factually related" to those that have actually been charged?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Texas, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 6: Other Sixth Amendment Provisions

No. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court held that because the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is "offense specific," it does not necessarily extend to offenses that are "factually related" to those that have actually been charged. Since the right to counsel was offense specific, and the offenses were separate, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote that the "Sixth Amendment right to counsel did not bar police from interrogating [Cobb] regarding the murders, and [Cobb's] confession was therefore admissible." Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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TEXAS v. COBB. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 14 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1702>.
TEXAS v. COBB, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1702 (last visited September 14, 2014).
"TEXAS v. COBB," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 14, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1702.