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Kansas v. Ventris

Docket No.: 07-1356
Certiorari Granted: Oct 1 2008
Argued: January 21, 2009
Decided: April 29, 2009

PartyNames: Kansas v. Donnie Ray Ventris
Petitioner: State of Kansas
Respondent: Donnie Ventris

Court Below: Supreme Court of Kansas

State of Kansas
v.
Donnie Ventris
Question Presented:

Whether a criminal defendant's "voluntary statement obtained in the absence of a knowing and voluntary waiver of the [Sixth Amendment] right to counsel," Michigan v. Harvey, 494 U.S. 344, 354 (1990), is admissible for impeachment purposes--a question the Court expressly left open in Harvey and which has resulted in a deep and enduring split of authority in the Circuits and state courts of last resort?

Question:

Are statements obtained in the absence of a knowing and voluntary waiver of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel admissible for the purposes of impeaching a defendant's testimony?

Holding: reversed and remanded
Vote: 7-2
Opinion By: Justice Antonin Scalia
Read KANSAS V. VENTRIS opinion (PDF)
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