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On the Record

The Daily Record's law news blog

Louisiana denies certiorari over dog v. dawg

A recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision to not grant a writ of certiorari is doggone crazy and highlights the importance of identifying homonyms, comma usage — and basic common sense.

Warren Demesme had asked for a lawyer when he was being questioned by the police, but did not get one because they claimed his request was ambiguous, according to Above the Law.

Here’s what Demesme said, according to the Louisiana Supreme Court:

“If y’all, this is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog cause this is not what’s up.”
To the average person at least somewhat familiar with the distinction between “dog” and “dawg,” it’s clear that Demesme said “give me a lawyer, dawg” and that the court is using an inaccurate transcription. But the Louisiana court disagreed.
“In my view, the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a ‘lawyer dog’ does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview,” Justice Scott Chrichton wrote.
For fans of the “The Wire,” this distinction may bring back memories from Season 3, when Detectives Bunk and McNulty ask Cheese about his “dawg,” not realizing he was referencing his actual four-legged friend who was shot.
That mix-up was a little easier to believe.

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