John Edward Dawson was arrested in Monroe County in Tennessee, on theft and drug charges. The courts appointed an attorney to represent him. However, back at the jail, a detective posed as Dawson’s defense attorney, in order to gather incriminating evidence. The detective told Dawson he could get him out of jail and take care all of his charges. The detective told him not to talk to his real attorney about their meeting. When Dawson did talk to his real Attorney, and an evidentiary hearing was conducted it showed the defendant’s claims were true. At the hearing, the detective, who had posed as an attorney invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify. Then during the trial, the judge decided Dawson had just made “a real dumb decision” by confiding in a fake lawyer. Dawson entered a guilty plea, but preserved the right to appeal on whether the state had interfered with his right to counsel. The Tennessee appellate court agreed, and revised the resulting conviction and ordered the indictments dismissed.
Student Researcher: Sandra Baer
Faculty Instructor: Elliot Cohen, PhD Indian River State College
Source: David Ziemer, “Cop Poses As Attorney Warrants Reversal” http//:www.wislawjournal.com