Bob requests a lawyer to be present while the police interview him after being arrested. The police just laugh.

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    What amendment of what? Which constitution? Where are you from? This is an international site you know. Oct 14 '20 at 4:38
  • To illustrate why the where and when is relevant: It wouldn't violate any rights to deny you the lawyer in Ukraine at a specific point in 2014: the police were completely disbanded and only re-created by an act minutes later, and many policemen did not transition from the old to the new police - in that short timeframe there was not a single person that legally had Police powers. If they arrested you just before that point, and then, as you asked for the lawyer looked at the watch, laughed and left the room, they just lost their job and walked away. (I am sure nothing like that happened)
    – Trish
    Oct 22 '20 at 10:12

The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees assistance of counsel for the accused in all criminal prosecutions. The Fifth Amendment protects a person from being forced to self-incriminate. Taken together, in Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court interpreted this to mean that police cannot continue interrogation after you have requested an attorney. Laughter is actually not a violation of your rights, the violation would come from continuing to interrogate you, or in prohibiting you from contacting your attorney or not providing an attorney if you cannot afford one (via the public defender's office).


In the United States, this does not violate Bob's constitutional rights.

If the police stop laughing and start asking Bob questions or otherwise attempting to elicit information from him, that would violate Bob's Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel.

  • 1
    Pardon for being ridiculous, but what if they continued to laugh for hours? Or perhaps less ridiculous, what if they stopped interrogation but simply left him alone, not attempting to contact an attorney? Oct 14 '20 at 4:35
  • 1
    @RossPresser Do you mean imprisoning Bob for an excessively long time (like 1 year for speeding and hitting nobody)? This would violate Bob's habeas corpus right.
    – xuhdev
    Oct 14 '20 at 5:08
  • 2
    @RossPresser Continuing to laugh for hours does not violate any right, nor does leaving without contacting an attorney. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel allows you to have an attorney with you while the police question you; it does not give you the right to have an attorney with you at any given moment in any given location. Unless the police are seeking your cooperation in their investigation, you generally don't have the right to have counsel with you. (Also, the above comment about the habeas corpus right is wildly incorrect.)
    – bdb484
    Oct 14 '20 at 5:18

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