221 F.3d 1339 (7th Cir. 2000), 99-3531, Palaggi v. Chrans

Docket Nº:99-3531.
Citation:221 F.3d 1339
Party Name:Patrick Joseph PALAGGI, Petitioner-Appellant, v. James A. CHRANS, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:July 27, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 1339

221 F.3d 1339 (7th Cir. 2000)

Patrick Joseph PALAGGI, Petitioner-Appellant,


James A. CHRANS, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 99-3531.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 27, 2000

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA7 Rule 53 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Argued June 13, 2000.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 97 C 2994. Paul E. Plunkett, Judge.

Before Hon. JOHN L. COFFEY, Hon. KENNETH F. RIPPLE, and Hon. MICHAEL S. KANNE, Circuit Judges.


Patrick Palaggi appeals the denial of his petition for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In March 1987, the bodies of Henrietta and Donald Russell were found in the closet of their home in Country Club Hills, Illinois. Police were led to Palaggi in Fort Pierce, Florida, where park maintenance workers had discovered a wallet and purse belonging to the Russells in some trash cans. Fort Pierce police then found Palaggi with Donald Russell's car and took him into custody on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle.

Country Club Hills officers soon arrived in Florida to investigate the Russell double homicide. When the officers first met with Palaggi in the Fort Pierce jail, Palaggi told them that he would speak to them after he talked to an attorney. Later, when the officers tried a second time to interview him, Palaggi refused. After Palaggi was brought back to Illinois two days later, he asked to speak to one of the officers and confessed to committing the murders. The confession was offered at Palaggi's bench trial. Palaggi was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In his petition, Palaggi alleges that he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel in Florida, but the police violated his right by attempting to re-initiate interrogation later the same day. This Edwards violation, Palaggi argues, rendered unlawful his later waiver and confession in Illinois. The following facts are derived from the findings of the Illinois appellate court on direct appeal and are supplemented where appropriate by the Illinois circuit court's oral findings at the hearing on Palaggi's motion to suppress:

On March 25, 1987, Fort Pierce detective John Brady took Palaggi and his nephew, Douglas Roth, into custody at a pawnshop. After arriving at the police station, Brady told Palaggi that he would be charged with theft of a motor vehicle in Illinois. While in custody in Fort Pierce, Palaggi was provided with lunch and cigarettes, but did not request to talk to an attorney.

After learning that Palaggi and another suspect in an Illinois homicide had been apprehended in Florida, Country Club Hills police officers Dominick Jagman and Peter Comanda arrived in Fort Pierce and met with Palaggi at the county jail at about 1:00 a.m. the morning of March 26. According to Jagman, when Comanda administered the Miranda warnings, Palaggi responded, "I would like to talk to you, or I will talk to you, but tomorrow, after I have been able to at least speak with an attorney." Comanda recalled that Palaggi said he "did want to talk to us but he would do so tomorrow after he talked with a lawyer." The conversation then ceased. Palaggi did not request an attorney at that time, nor did the officers take steps to provide him with one.

At 6:00 that evening, Jagman and Comanda met with Palaggi again and repeated the Miranda warnings. This time Palaggi told them he was not feeling well and, according to Comanda, said he would talk to the police when he returned to Illinois. Jagman testified that Palaggi told them that he "would rather speak to us at a time when he felt better." Comanda then informed Palaggi that the police felt they had enough evidence to charge him with a death penalty case, and that "we would no longer be approaching him for questioning ... he would have to approach us if he wished to talk to us at a later date." During this second conversation, Palaggi did not say anything about an attorney.

The following day, Comanda and Jagman escorted Palaggi back to Illinois after he waived extradition. The next morning, March 28, Comanda went to the lockup to perform an hourly check on the detainees. When Comanda looked into Palaggi's cell, Palaggi asked him if he could talk to his partner, referring to Jagman. Comanda relayed this message to Jagman, and later that day Jagman went to the lockup and approached Palaggi in his cell. Palaggi then initiated a conversation and stated that he wished to talk about the crimes he had committed. Jagman read Palaggi the Miranda warnings from a preprinted card, and Palaggi agreed to waive his rights. Palaggi then told Jagman how he had killed Henrietta and Donald Russell and signed a typed statement admitting responsibility for the murders.

At the suppression hearing, Palaggi testified that during the first interview in Florida he told Comanda that he did not want to talk to him about the case and that he "would like...

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