492 U.S. 195 (1989), 88-317, Duckworth v. Eagan

Docket Nº:No. 88-317
Citation:492 U.S. 195, 109 S.Ct. 2875, 106 L.Ed.2d 166, 57 U.S.L.W. 4942
Party Name:Duckworth v. Eagan
Case Date:June 26, 1989
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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492 U.S. 195 (1989)

109 S.Ct. 2875, 106 L.Ed.2d 166, 57 U.S.L.W. 4942

Duckworth

v.

Eagan

No. 88-317

United States Supreme Court

June 26, 1989

Argued March 29, 1989

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR

THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Respondent, when first questioned by Indiana police in connection with a stabbing, made an exculpatory statement after being read and signing a waiver form that provided, inter alia, that if he could not afford a lawyer, one would be appointed for him "if and when you go to court." However, 29 hours later, he was interviewed again, signed a different waiver form, confessed to the stabbing, and led officers to a site where they recovered relevant physical evidence. Over respondent's objection, his two statements were admitted into evidence at trial. After the Indiana Supreme Court upheld his conviction for attempted murder, respondent sought a writ of habeas corpus in the District Court claiming, among other things, that his confession was inadmissible because the first waiver form did not comply with the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436. The District Court denied the petition, holding that the record clearly manifested adherence to Miranda. The Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the advice that counsel will be appointed "if and when you go to court" was constitutionally defective, because it denied the indigent accused a clear and unequivocal warning of the right to appointed counsel before interrogation and linked that right to a future event.

Held: Informing a suspect that an attorney would be appointed for him "if and when you go to court" does not render Miranda warnings inadequate. Pp. 200-205.

(a) Miranda warnings need not be given in the exact form described in Miranda, but simply must reasonably convey to a suspect his rights. The initial warnings given to respondent -- that he had a right to remain silent, that anything he said could be used against him in court, that he had the right to speak to an attorney before and during questioning, even if he could not afford to hire one, that he had the right to stop answering questions at any time until he talked to a lawyer, and that the police could not provide him with a lawyer, but one would be appointed "if and when you go to court" -- touched all of the bases required by Miranda. Pp. 201-203.

(b) The Court of Appeals misapprehended the effect of the "if and when you go to court" language. This instruction accurately reflects Indiana's

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procedure for appointment of counsel, which does not occur until a defendant's first court appearance, and it anticipates a suspect's question as to when he will obtain counsel. Pp. 203-204.

(c) Miranda does not require that attorneys be producible on call, but only that the suspect be informed of his right to an attorney and to appointed counsel, and that, if the police cannot provide appointed counsel, they will not question him until he waives, as respondent did, his right to counsel. P. 204.

(d) Respondent's reliance on California v. Prysock, 453 U.S. 355 -- which held that Miranda warnings would not be sufficient "if the reference to the right to appointed counsel was linked [to a] future point in time after police interrogation" -- is misplaced, since Prysock involved warnings that did not apprise the accused [109 S.Ct. 2877] of his right to have an attorney present if he chose to answer questions. However, of the eight sentences in respondent's first warning, one described his right to counsel "before [the police] ask[ed] [him] questions," while another stated his right "to stop answering at any time until [he] talk[ed] to a lawyer." Pp. 204-205.

843 F.2d 1554, reversed and remanded.

REHNQUIST, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, O'CONNOR, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. O'CONNOR, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined, post, p. 205. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, and in Part I of which BLACKMUN and STEVENS, JJ., joined, post, p. 214.

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REHNQUIST, J., lead opinion

CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

Respondent confessed to stabbing a woman nine times after she refused to have sexual relations with him, and he was convicted of attempted murder. Before confessing, respondent was given warnings by the police, which included the advice that a lawyer would be appointed "if and when you go to court." The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that such advice did not comply with the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). We disagree, and reverse.

Late on May 16, 1982, respondent contacted a Chicago police officer he knew to report that he had seen the naked body of a dead woman lying on a Lake Michigan beach. Respondent denied any involvement in criminal activity. He then took several Chicago police officers to the beach, where the woman was crying for help. When she saw respondent, the woman exclaimed: "Why did you stab me? Why did you stab me?" Respondent told the officers that he had been with the woman earlier that night, but that they had been attacked by several men who abducted the woman in a van.

The next morning, after realizing that the crime had been committed in Indiana, the Chicago police turned the investigation over to the Hammond, Indiana, Police Department. Respondent repeated to the Hammond police officers his story that he had been attacked on the lakefront, and that the woman had been abducted by several men. After he filled out a battery complaint at a local police station, respondent agreed to go to the Hammond police headquarters for further questioning.

At about 11 a.m., the Hammond police questioned respondent. Before doing so, the police read to respondent a waiver form, entitled "Voluntary Appearance; Advice of Rights," and they asked him to sign it. The form provided:

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Before we ask you any questions, you must understand your rights. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have a right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions, and to have him with you during questioning. You have this right to the advice and presence of a lawyer even if you cannot afford to hire one. We have no way of giving you a lawyer, but one will be appointed for you, if you wish, if and when you go to court. If you wish to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering questions at any time. You also have the right to stop answering at any time until you've [109 S.Ct. 2878] talked to a lawyer.

843 F.2d 1554, 1555-1556 (CA7 1988) (emphasis added).1 Respondent signed the form and repeated his exculpatory explanation for his activities of the previous evening.

Respondent was then placed in the "lockup" at the Hammond police headquarters. Some 29 hours later, at about 4 p.m. on May 18, the police again interviewed respondent. Before this questioning, one of the officers read the following waiver form to respondent:

1. Before making this statement, I was advised that I have the right to remain silent and that anything I

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might say may or will be used against me in a court of law.

2. That I have the right to consult with an attorney of my own choice before saying anything, and that an attorney may be present while I am making any statement or throughout the course of any conversation with any police officer if I so choose.

3. That I can stop and request an attorney at any time during the course of the taking of any statement or during the course of any such conversation.

4. That in the course of any conversation I can refuse to answer any further questions and remain silent, thereby terminating the conversation.

5. That if I do not hire an attorney, one will be provided for me.

Id. at 1556. Respondent read the form back to the officers and signed it. He proceeded to confess to stabbing the woman. The next morning, respondent led the officers to the Lake Michigan beach, where they recovered the knife he had used in the stabbing and several items of clothing.

At trial, over respondent's objection, the state court admitted his confession, his first statement denying any involvement in the crime, the knife, and the clothing. The jury found respondent guilty of attempted murder, but acquitted him of rape. He was sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment. The conviction was upheld on appeal. Eagan v. State, 480 N.E.2d 946 (Ind.1985).

Respondent sought a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, claiming, inter alia, that his confession was inadmissible because the first waiver form did not comply with Miranda. The District Court denied the petition, holding that the record "clearly manifests adherence to Miranda . . . especially

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as to the so-called second statement." App. to Pet. for Cert. A52.

A divided United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed. 843 F.2d 1554 (1988). The majority held that the advice that counsel would be appointed "if and when you go to court," which was included in the first warnings given to respondent, was "constitutionally defective because it denies an accused indigent a clear and unequivocal warning of the right to appointed counsel before any interrogation," and "link[s] an indigent's right to counsel before interrogation with a future event." Id. at 1557. The majority relied on the Seventh Circuit's decision in United States ex rel. Williams v. Twomey, 467 F.2d 1248, 1250 (CA7 1972), which had condemned, as "misleading and confusing," the inclusion of "if and when you go to court" language in Miranda...

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