Brewer v. Williams


No. 74-1263 Argued: October 4, 1976 --- Decided: March 23, 1977
MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

An Iowa trial jury found the respondent, Robert Williams, guilty of murder. The judgment of conviction was affirmed in the Iowa Supreme Court by a closely divided vote. In a subsequent habeas corpus proceeding, a Federal District [p390] Court ruled that, under the United States Constitution, Williams is entitled to a new trial, and a divided Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit agreed. The question before us is whether the District Court and the Court of Appeals were wrong.


On the afternoon of December 24, 1968, a 10-year-old girl named Pamela Powers went with her family to the YMCA in Des Moines, Iowa, to watch a wrestling tournament in which her brother was participating. When she failed to return from a trip to the washroom, a search for her began. The search was unsuccessful.

Robert Williams, who had recently escaped from a mental hospital, was a resident of the YMCA. Soon after the girl's disappearance, Williams was seen in the YMCA lobby carrying some clothing and a large bundle wrapped in a blanket. He obtained help from a 14-year-old boy in opening the street door of the YMCA and the door to his automobile parked outside. When Williams placed the bundle in the front seat of his car, the boy "saw two legs in it and they were skinny and white." Before anyone could see what was in the bundle, Williams drove away. His abandoned car was found the following day in Davenport, Iowa, roughly 160 miles east of Des Moines. A warrant was then issued in Des Moines for his arrest on a charge of abduction.

On the morning of December 26, a Des Moines lawyer named Henry McKnight went to the Des Moines police station and informed the officers present that he had just received a long-distance call from Williams, and that he had advised Williams to turn himself in to the Davenport police. Williams did surrender that morning to the police in Davenport, and they booked him on the charge specified in the arrest warrant and gave him the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436. The Davenport police then telephoned [p391] their counterparts in Des Moines to inform them that Williams had surrendered. McKnight, the lawyer, was still at the Des Moines police headquarters, and Williams conversed with McKnight on the telephone. In the presence of the Des Moines chief of police and a police detective named Leaming, McKnight advised Williams that Des Moines police officers would be driving to Davenport to pick him up, that the officers would not interrogate him or mistreat him, and that Williams was not to talk to the officers about Pamela Powers until after consulting with McKnight upon his return to Des Moines. As a result of these conversations, it was agreed between McKnight and the Des Moines police officials that Detective Leaming and a fellow officer would drive to Davenport to pick up Williams, that they would bring him directly back to Des Moines, and that they would not question him during the trip.

In the meantime, Williams was arraigned before a judge in Davenport on the outstanding arrest warrant. The judge advised him of his Miranda rights and committed him to jail. Before leaving the courtroom, Williams conferred with a lawyer named Kelly, who advised him not to make any statements until consulting with McKnight back in Des Moines.

Detective Leaming and his fellow officer arrived in Davenport about noon to pick up Williams and return him to Des Moines. Soon after their arrival, they met with Williams and Kelly, who, they understood, was acting as Williams' lawyer. Detective Leaming repeated the Miranda warnings, and told Williams:

[W]e both know that you're being represented here by Mr. Kelly and you're being represented by Mr. McKnight in Des Moines, and . . . I want you to remember this because we'll be visiting between here and Des Moines.

Williams then conferred again with Kelly alone, and, after this conference, Kelly reiterated to Detective Leaming that [p392] Williams was not to be questioned about the disappearance of Pamela Powers until after he had consulted with McKnight back in Des Moines. When Leaming expressed some reservations, Kelly firmly stated that the agreement with McKnight was to be carried out -- that there was to be no interrogation of Williams during the automobile journey to Des Moines. Kelly was denied permission to ride in the police car back to Des Moines with Williams and the two officers.

The two detectives, with Williams in their charge, then set out on the 160-mile drive. At no time during the trip did Williams express a willingness to be interrogated in the absence of an attorney. Instead, he stated several times that "[w]hen I get to Des Moines and see Mr. McKnight, I am going to tell you the whole story." Detective Leaming knew that Williams was a former mental patient, and knew also that he was deeply religious.

The detective and his prisoner soon embarked on a wide-ranging conversation covering a variety of topics, including the subject of religion. Then, not long after leaving Davenport and reaching the interstate highway, Detective Leaming delivered what has been referred to in the briefs and oral arguments as the "Christian burial speech." Addressing Williams as "Reverend," the detective said:

I want to give you something to think about while we're traveling down the road. . . . Number one, I want you to observe the weather conditions, it's raining, it's sleeting, it's freezing, driving is very treacherous, visibility is poor, it's going to be dark early this evening. They are predicting several inches of snow for tonight, and I feel that you yourself are the only person that knows where this little girl's body is, that you yourself have only been there once, and if you get a snow on top of it you yourself may be unable to find it. And, since we will be going right past the area on the way into [p393] Des Moines, I felt that we could stop and locate the body, that the parents of this little girl should be entitled to a Christian burial for the little girl who was snatched away from them on Christmas [E]ve and murdered. And I feel we should stop and locate it on the way in, rather than waiting until morning and trying to come back out after a snow storm, and possibly not being able to find it at all.

Williams asked Detective Leaming why he thought their route to Des Moines would be taking them past the girl's body, and Leaming responded that he knew the body was in the area of Mitchellville -- a town they would be passing on the way to Des Moines. [n1] Leaming then stated: "I do not want you to answer me. I don't want to discuss it any further. Just think about it as we're riding down the road."

As the car approached Grinnell, a town approximately 100 miles west of Davenport, Williams asked whether the police had found the victim's shoes. When Detective Leaming replied that he was unsure, Williams directed the officers to a service station where he said he had left the shoes; a search for them proved unsuccessful. As they continued towards Des Moines, Williams asked whether the police had found the blanket, and directed the officers to a rest area where he said he had disposed of the blanket. Nothing was found. The car continued towards Des Moines, and as it approached Mitchellville, Williams said that he would show the officers where the body was. He then directed the police to the body of Pamela Powers.

Williams was indicted for first-degree murder. Before trial, his counsel moved to suppress all evidence relating to or resulting from any statements Williams had made during the automobile ride from Davenport to Des Moines. After [p394] an evidentiary hearing, the trial judge denied the motion. He found that

an agreement was made between defense counsel and the police officials to the effect that the Defendant was not to be questioned on the return trip to Des Moines,

and that the evidence in question had been elicited from Williams during "a critical stage in the proceedings requiring the presence of counsel on his request." The judge ruled, however, that Williams had "waived his right to have an attorney present during the giving of such information." [n2]

The evidence in question was introduced over counsel's continuing objection at the subsequent trial. The jury found Williams guilty of murder, and the judgment of conviction was affirmed by the Iowa Supreme Court, a bare majority of whose members agreed with the trial court that Williams had "waived his right to the presence of his counsel" on the automobile ride from Davenport to Des Moines. State v. Williams, 182 N.W.2d 396, 402. The four dissenting justices expressed the view that,

when counsel and police have agreed defendant is not to be questioned until counsel is present and defendant has been advised not to talk and repeatedly has stated he will tell the whole story after he talks with counsel, the state should be required to make a stronger showing of intentional voluntary waiver than was made here.

Id. at 408.

Williams then petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Counsel for the State and for Williams stipulated that "the case would be submitted on the record of facts and proceedings in the trial court, without taking of further testimony." The District Court made findings of fact as summarized above, and concluded as a matter of law that the evidence in question had been wrongly admitted at [p395] Williams' trial. This conclusion was based on three alternative and independent grounds: (1) that Williams had been denied his constitutional right to the assistance of counsel; (2) that he had been denied the constitutional protections defined by this Court's decisions in Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, and 378 U.S. 478, and Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436; and (3) that, in any event, his self-incriminatory statements on the automobile trip from Davenport to Des Moines had been involuntarily made. Further, the District Court ruled that there had been no waiver by Williams of the constitutional protections in question. 375 F.Supp. 170.

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, with one judge dissenting, affirmed this judgment, 509 F.2d 227, and denied a petition for rehearing en banc. We granted certiorari to consider the constitutional issues presented. 423 U.S. 1031.


Before turning to those issues, we must consider the petitioner's threshold claim that the District Court disregarded the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) in making its findings of fact in this case. That statute, which codifies most of the criteria set out in Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, provides that, subject to enumerated exceptions, federal habeas corpus courts shall accept as correct the factual determinations made by the courts of the States. [n3] [p396]

We conclude that there was no disregard of § 2254(d) in this case. Although either of the parties might well have requested an evidentiary hearing in the federal habeas corpus proceedings, Townsend v. Sain, supra, at 322, they both instead voluntarily agreed in advance that the federal court should decide the case on the record made in the courts of the State. In so proceeding, the District Court made no [p397] findings of fact in conflict with those of the Iowa courts. The District Court did make some additional findings of fact based upon its examination of the state court record, among them the findings that Kelly, the Davenport lawyer, had requested permission to ride in the police car from Davenport to Des Moines, and that Detective Leaming had refused this request. But the additional findings were conscientiously and carefully explained by the District Court, 375 F.Supp. at 175-176, and were reviewed and approved by the Court of Appeals, which expressly held that "the District Court correctly applied 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in its resolution of the disputed evidentiary facts, and that the facts as found by the District Court had substantial basis in the record," 509 F.2d at 231. The strictures of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) require no more. [n4]


As stated above, the District Court based its judgment in this case on three independent grounds. The Court of Appeals appears to have affirmed the judgment on two of those grounds. [n5] We have concluded that only one of them need be considered here.

Specifically, there is no need to review in this case the doctrine of Miranda v. Arizona, a doctrine designed to secure the constitutional privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, Michigan v. Tucker, 417 U.S. 433, 438-439. It is equally unnecessary to evaluate the ruling of the District Court that Williams' self-incriminating statements were, indeed, involuntarily made. Cf. Spano v. New York, 360 U.S. 315. For it is clear that the judgment before us must, in any event, be affirmed upon the ground that Williams was deprived [p398] of a different constitutional right -- the right to the assistance of counsel.

This right, guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, is indispensable to the fair administration of our adversary system of criminal justice. Its vital need at the pretrial stage has perhaps nowhere been more succinctly explained than in Mr. Justice Sutherland's memorable words for the Court 44 years ago in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 57:

[D]uring perhaps the most critical period of the proceedings against these defendants, that is to say, from the time of their arraignment until the beginning of their trial, when consultation, thorough-going investigation, and preparation were vitally important, the defendants did not have the aid of counsel in any real sense, although they were as much entitled to such aid during that period as at the trial itself.

There has occasionally been a difference of opinion within the Court as to the peripheral scope of this constitutional right. See Kirby v. Illinois, 406 U.S. 682; Coleman v. Alabama, 399 U.S. 1. But its basic contours, which are identical in state and federal contexts, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335; Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, are too well established to require extensive elaboration here. Whatever else it may mean, the right to counsel granted by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments means at least that person is entitled to the help of a lawyer at or after the time that judicial proceedings have been initiated against him -- "whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment." Kirby v. Illinois, supra at 689. See Powell v. Alabama, supra; Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458; Hamilton v. Alabama, 368 U.S. 52; Gideon v. Wainwright, supra; White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59; Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201; United [p399] States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218; Gilbert v. California, 388 U.S. 263; Coleman v. Alabama, supra.

There can be no doubt in the present case that judicial proceedings had been initiated against Williams before the start of the automobile ride from Davenport to Des Moines. A warrant had been issued for his arrest, he had been arraigned on that warrant before a judge in a Davenport courtroom, and he had been committed by the court to confinement in jail. The State does not contend otherwise.

There can be no serious doubt, either, that Detective Leaming deliberately and designedly set out to elicit information from Williams just as surely as -- and perhaps more effectively than -- if he had formally interrogated him. Detective Leaming was fully aware before departing for Des Moines that Williams was being represented in Davenport by Kelly and in Des Moines by McKnight. Yet he purposely sought during Williams' isolation from his lawyers to obtain as much incriminating information as possible. Indeed, Detective Leaming conceded as much when he testified at Williams' trial:

Q. In fact, Captain, whether he was a mental patient or not, you were trying to get all the information you could before he got to his lawyer, weren't you?

A. I was sure hoping to find out where that little girl was, yes, sir.

* * * *

Q. Well, I'll put it this way: You was [sic] hoping to get all the information you could before Williams got back to McKnight, weren't you?

A. Yes, sir. [n6] [p400]

The state courts clearly proceeded upon the hypothesis that detective Leaming's "Christian burial speech" had been tantamount to interrogation. Both courts recognized that Williams had been entitled to the assistance of counsel at the time he made the incriminating statements. [n7] Yet no such constitutional protection would have come into play if there had been no interrogation.

The circumstances of this case are thus constitutionally indistinguishable from those presented in Massiah v. United States, supra. The petitioner in that case was indicted for violating the federal narcotics law. He retained a lawyer, pleaded not guilty, and was released on bail. While he was free on bail a federal agent succeeded by surreptitious means in listening to incriminating statements made by him. Evidence of these statements was introduced against the petitioner at his trial, and he was convicted. This Court reversed the conviction, holding

that the petitioner was denied the basic protections of that guarantee [the right to counsel] when there was used against him at his trial evidence of his own incriminating words, which federal agents had deliberately elicited from him after he had been indicted and in the absence of his counsel.

377 U.S. at 206.

That the incriminating statements were elicited surreptitiously in the Massiah case, and otherwise here, is constitutionally irrelevant. See ibid.; McLeod v. Ohio, 381 U.S. 356; United States v. Crisp, 435 F.2d 354, 358 (CA7); [p401] United States ex rel. O'Connor v. New Jersey, 405 F.2d 632, 636 (CA3); Hancock v. White, 378 F.2d 479 (CA1). Rather, the clear rule of Massiah is that, once adversary proceedings have commenced against an individual, he has a right to legal representation when the government interrogates him. [n8] It thus requires no wooden or technical application of the Massiah doctrine to conclude that Williams was entitled to the assistance of counsel guaranteed to him by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.


The Iowa courts recognized that Williams had been denied the constitutional right to the assistance of counsel. [n9] They held, however, that he had waived that right during the course of the automobile trip from Davenport to Des Moines. The state trial court explained its determination of waiver as follows:

The time element involved on the trip, the general circumstances of it, and, more importantly, the absence on the Defendant's part of any assertion of his right or desire not to give information absent the presence of his attorney, are the main foundations for the Court's conclusion that he voluntarily waived such right. [p402]

In its lengthy opinion affirming this determination, the Iowa Supreme Court applied "the "totality of circumstances" test for a showing of waiver of constitutionally protected rights in the absence of an express waiver," and concluded that

evidence of the time element involved on the trip, the general circumstances of it, and the absence of any request or expressed desire for the aid of counsel before or at the time of giving information were sufficient to sustain a conclusion that defendant did waive his constitutional rights as alleged.

182 N.W.2d at 401, 402.

In the federal habeas corpus proceeding, the District Court, believing that the issue of waiver was not one of fact, but of federal law, held that the Iowa courts had "applied the wrong constitutional standards" in ruling that Williams had waived the protections that were his under the Constitution. 375 F.Supp. at 182. The court held

that it is the government which bears a heavy burden . . . but that is the burden which explicitly was placed on [Williams] by the state courts.

Ibid. (emphasis in original). After carefully reviewing the evidence, the District Court concluded:

[U]nder the proper standards for determining waiver, there simply is no evidence to support a waiver. . . . [T]here is no affirmative indication . . . that [Williams] did waive his rights. . . . [T]he state courts' emphasis on the absence of a demand for counsel was not only legally inappropriate, but factually unsupportable, as well, since Detective Leaming himself testified that [Williams], on several occasions during the trip, indicated that he would talk after he saw Mr. McKnight. Both these statements and Mr. Kelly's statement to Detective Leaming that [Williams] would talk only after seeing Mr. McKnight in Des Moines certainly were assertions of [Williams'] "right or desire not to give information absent the presence of his attorney. . . ." Moreover, the statements were obtained only after Detective [p403] Leaming's use of psychology on a person whom he knew to be deeply religious and an escapee from a mental hospital -- with the specific intent to elicit incriminating statements. In the face of this evidence, the State has produced no affirmative evidence whatsoever to support its claim of waiver, and, a fortiori, it cannot be said that the State has met its "heavy burden" of showing a knowing and intelligent waiver of . . . Sixth Amendment rights.

Id. at 182-183 (emphasis in original; footnote omitted).

The Court of Appeals approved the reasoning of the District Court:

A review of the record here . . . discloses no facts to support the conclusion of the state court that [Williams] had waived his constitutional rights other than that [he] had made incriminating statements. . . . The District Court here properly concluded that an incorrect constitutional standard had been applied by the state court in determining the issue of waiver. . . .

* * * *

[T]his court recently held that an accused can voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waive his right to have counsel present at an interrogation after counsel has been appointed. . . . The prosecution, however, has the weighty obligation to show that the waiver was knowingly and intelligently made. We quite agree with Judge Hanson that the state here failed to so show.

509 F.2d at 233.

The District Court and the Court of Appeals were correct in the view that the question of waiver was not a question of historical fact, but one which, in the words of Mr. Justice Frankfurter, requires "application of constitutional principles to the facts as found. . . ." Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, [p404] 507 (separate opinion). See Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. at 309 n. 6, 318; Brookhart v. Janis, 384 U.S. 1, 4.

The District Court and the Court of Appeals were also correct in their understanding of the proper standard to be applied in determining the question of waiver as a matter of federal constitutional law -- that it was incumbent upon the State to prove "an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege." Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. at 464. That standard has been reiterated in many cases. We have said that the right to counsel does not depend upon a request by the defendant, Carnley v. Cochran, 369 U.S. 506, 513; cf. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. at 471, and that courts indulge in every reasonable presumption against waiver, e.g., Brookhart v. Janis, supra at 4; Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 70. This strict standard applies equally to an alleged waiver of the right to counsel whether at trial or at a critical stage of pretrial proceedings. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 238-240; United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. at 237.

We conclude, finally, that the Court of Appeals was correct in holding that, judged by these standards, the record in this case falls far short of sustaining petitioner's burden. It is true that Williams had been informed of and appeared to understand his right to counsel. But waiver requires not merely comprehension, but relinquishment, and Williams' consistent reliance upon the advice of counsel in dealing with the authorities refutes any suggestion that he waived that right. He consulted McKnight by long-distance telephone before turning himself in. He spoke with McKnight by telephone again shortly after being booked. After he was arraigned, Williams sought out and obtained legal advice from Kelly. Williams again consulted with Kelly after Detective Leaming and his fellow officer arrived in Davenport. Throughout, Williams was advised not to make any statements before seeing McKnight in Des Moines, and was [p405] assured that the police had agreed not to question him. His statements while in the car that he would tell the whole story after seeing McKnight in Des Moines were the clearest expressions by Williams himself that he desired the presence of an attorney before any interrogation took place. But even before making these statements, Williams had effectively asserted his right to counsel by having secured attorneys at both ends of the automobile trip, both of whom, acting as his agents, had made clear to the police that no interrogation was to occur during the journey. Williams knew of that agreement and, particularly in view of his consistent reliance on counsel, there is no basis for concluding that he disavowed it. [n10]

Despite Williams' express and implicit assertions of his right to counsel, Detective Leaming proceeded to elicit incriminating statements from Williams. Leaming did not preface this effort by telling Williams that he had a right to the presence of a lawyer, and made no effort at all to ascertain whether Williams wished to relinquish that right. The circumstances of record in this case thus provide no reasonable basis for finding that Williams waived his right to the assistance of counsel.

The Court of Appeals did not hold, nor do we, that, under the circumstances of this case, Williams could not, without notice to counsel, have waived his rights under the Sixth and [p406] Fourteenth Amendments. [n11] It only held, as do we, that he did not.


The crime of which Williams was convicted was senseless and brutal, calling for swift and energetic action by the police to apprehend the perpetrator and gather evidence with which he could be convicted. No mission of law enforcement officials is more important. Yet "[d]isinterested zeal for the public good does not assure either wisdom or right in the methods it pursues." Haley v. Ohio, 332 U.S. 596, 605 (Frankfurter, J., concurring in judgment). Although we do not lightly affirm the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus in this case, so clear a violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments as here occurred cannot be condoned. The pressures on state executive and judicial officers charged with the administration of the criminal law are great, especially when the crime is murder and the victim a small child. But it is precisely the predictability of those pressures that makes imperative a resolute loyalty to the guarantees that the Constitution extends to us all.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. [n12]

It is so ordered. [n13]

1. The fact of the matter, of course, was that Detective Leaming possessed no such knowledge.

2. The opinion of the trial court denying Williams' motion to suppress is unreported.

3. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) provides:

(d) In any proceeding instituted in a Federal court by an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a determination after a hearing on the merits of a factual issue, made by a State court of competent jurisdiction in a proceeding to which the applicant for the writ and the State or an officer or agent thereof were parties, evidenced by a written finding, written opinion, or other reliable and adequate written indicia, shall be presumed to be correct, unless the applicant shall establish or it shall otherwise appear, or the respondent shall admit --

(1) that the merits of the factual dispute were not resolved in the State court hearing;

(2) that the factfinding procedure employed by the State court was not adequate to afford a full and fair hearing;

(3) that the material facts were not adequately developed at the State court hearing;

(4) that the State court lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter or over the person of the applicant in the State court proceeding;

(5) that the applicant was an indigent and the State court, in deprivation of his constitutional right, failed to appoint counsel to represent him in the State court proceeding;

(6) that the applicant did not receive a full, fair, and adequate hearing in the State court proceeding; or

(7) that the applicant was otherwise denied due process of law in the State court proceeding;

(8) or unless that part of the record of the State court proceeding in which the determination of such factual issue was made, pertinent to a determination of the sufficiency of the evidence to support such factual determination, is produced as provided for hereinafter, and the Federal court on a consideration of such part of the record as a whole concludes that such factual determination is not fairly supported by the record:

And in an evidentiary hearing in the proceeding in the Federal court, when due proof of such factual determination has been made, unless the existence of one or more of the circumstances respectively set forth in paragraphs numbered (1) to (7), inclusive, is shown by the applicant, otherwise appears, or is admitted by the respondent, or unless the court concludes pursuant to the provisions of paragraph numbered (8) that the record in the State court proceeding, considered as a whole, does not fairly support such factual determination, the burden shall rest upon the applicant to establish by convincing evidence that the factual determination by the State court was erroneous.

4. Whether Williams waived his constitutional rights was not, of course, a question of fact, but an issue of federal law. See discussion infra at 401-404.

5. The Court of Appeals did not address the District Court's ruling that Williams' statements had been made involuntarily.

6. Counsel for petitioner, in the course of oral argument in this Court, acknowledged that the "Christian burial speech" was tantamount to interrogation:

Q: But isn't the point, really, Mr. Attorney General, what you indicated earlier, and that is that the officer wanted to elicit information from Williams --

A: Yes, sir.

Q: -- by whatever techniques he used, I would suppose a lawyer would consider that he were pursuing interrogation.

A: It is, but it was very brief.

Tr. of Oral Arg. 17.

7. The Iowa trial court expressly acknowledged Williams' "right to have an attorney present during the giving of such information." See supra at 394. The Iowa Supreme Court also expressly acknowledged Williams' "right to the presence of his counsel." See ibid.

8. The only other significant factual difference between the present case and Massiah is that here the police had agreed that they would not interrogate Williams in the absence of his counsel. This circumstance plainly provides petitioner with no argument for distinguishing away the protection afforded by Massiah.

It is argued that this agreement may not have been an enforceable one. But we do not deal here with notions of offer, acceptance, consideration, or other concepts of the law of contracts. We deal with constitutional law. And every court that has looked at this case has found an "agreement" in the sense of a commitment made by the Des Moines police officers that Williams would not be questioned about Pamela Powers in the absence of his counsel.

9. See n. 7, supra.

10. Cf. Michigan v. Mosley, 423 U.S. 96, 110 n. 2 (WHITE, J., concurring in result):

[T]he reasons to keep the lines of communication between the authorities and the accused open when the accused has chosen to make his own decisions are not present when he indicates instead that he wishes legal advice with respect thereto. The authorities may then communicate with him through an attorney. More to the point, the accused having expressed his own view that he is not competent to deal with the authorities without legal advice, a later decision at the authorities' insistence to make a statement without counsel's presence may properly be viewed with skepticism.

11. Compare, e.g., United States v. Springer, 460 F.2d 1344, 1350 (CA7); Wilson v. United States, 398 F.2d 331 (CA5); Coughlan v. United States, 391 F.2d 371 (CA9), with, e.g., United States v. Thomas, 474 F.2d 110, 112 (CA10); United States v. Springer, supra at 1354-1355 (Stevens, J., dissenting); United States ex rel. Magoon v. Reincke, 416 F.2d 69 (CA2), aff'g 304 F.Supp. 1014 (Conn.). Cf. United States v. Pheaster, 544 F.2d 353 (CA9).

12. The District Court stated that its decision

does not touch upon the issue of what evidence, if any, beyond the incriminating statements themselves must be excluded as "fruit of the poisonous tree."

375 F.Supp. 170, 185. We, too, have no occasion to address this issue, and, in the present posture of the case, there is no basis for the view of our dissenting Brethren, post at 430 (WHITE, J.); post at 441 (BLACKMUN, J.), that any attempt to retry the respondent would probably be futile. While neither Williams' incriminating statements themselves nor any testimony describing his having led the police to the victim's body can constitutionally be admitted into evidence, evidence of where the body was found and of its condition might well be admissible on the theory that the body would have been discovered in any event, even had incriminating statements not been elicited from Williams. Cf. Killough v. United States, 119 U.S. App. D.C. 10, 336 F.2d 929. In the event that a retrial is instituted, it will be for the state courts in the first instance to determine whether particular items of evidence may be admitted.

13. The Court of Appeals suspended the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus for 60 days to allow an opportunity for a new trial, and further suspended its issuance pending disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari in this Court. In affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeals, we further suspend the issuance of the writ of release from custody for 60 days from this date to allow the State of Iowa an opportunity to initiate a new trial, and judgment will be entered accordingly.