Bergius versus Thompkins Case

Bergius versus Thompkins Case

The Bergius versus Thompkins case was held at the court of the first jurisdiction in Michigan State court. The court convicted Van Chester Thompkins of first-degree murder, committing assault with intentions of committing murder, and several charges linked to possession of firearms illegally. Once he exhausted his remedies in the Michigan State Court, he petitioned for habeas relief in the Michigan federal district court where his petition was rejected. When Thompkins appealed, he argued that his confession was obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment and he was denied effective counsel (Bergius v. Thompkins, 2009). The sixth circuit found that the Michigan Supreme court errored in arguing that Thompkins waived his Fifth Amendment right since he failed to sign an acknowledgment that he was well briefed of his Miranda rights and rarely made eye contact with the detective throughout the interviewing process. Further, the Sixth Circuit held that the Michigan Supreme Court determined improperly that Thompkins was not prejudiced due to his lawyer’s failure to request instructions that were limited to his co-defendant’s testimony who was tried separately.

In my support for the majority decision, I hold that the decision of the Supreme Court to reverse the sixth circuit and upholding the state court’s decision to reject Thompkins’s Miranda claim was correct. This is because the accused failed to invoke his Miranda rights to remain silent and to counsel since he failed to do that ambiguously. Moreover, Mr. Thompkins waived the right to remain silent when he knowingly and voluntarily made a statement to the police. Further, despite the ineffectiveness of the counsel, the defendant failed to show how the dismal performance of the counsel prejudiced him as a prerequisite for establishing that Sixth Amendment right was violated (Berman, &, Emily, 2010). In conclusion, the Miranda rights for the accused were not affected since he failed in his interview with the detective and could not show how poor performance by his counsel affected the rights.


Berghuis v. Thompkins. (n.d.)(2009). Oyez.

Berman, &, Emily (2010). “You still have the right to remain silent”.

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