Escobedo v. State of Illinois, No. 615

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtGOLDBERG
Citation378 U.S. 478,84 S.Ct. 1758,12 L.Ed.2d 977
Decision Date22 June 1964
Docket NumberNo. 615
PartiesDanny ESCOBEDO, Petitioner, v. STATE OF ILLINOIS

378 U.S. 478
84 S.Ct. 1758
12 L.Ed.2d 977
Danny ESCOBEDO, Petitioner,

v.

STATE OF ILLINOIS.

No. 615.
Argued April 29, 1964.
Decided June 22, 1964.

Barry L. Kroll, Park Forest, Ill., for petitioner.

Bernard Weisberg, Chicago, Ill., for American Civil Liberties Union, as amicus curiae.

James R. Thompson, Chicago, Ill., for respondent.

Page 479

Mr. Justice GOLDBERG delivered the opinion of the Court.

The critical question in this case is whether, under the circumstances, the refusal by the police to honor petitioner's request to consult with his lawyer during the course of an interrogation constitutes a denial of 'the Assistance of Counsel' in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution as 'made obligatory upon the States by the Fourtee th Amendment,' Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 342, 83 S.Ct. 792, 795, 9 L.Ed.2d 799, and thereby renders inadmissible in a state criminal trial any incriminating statement elicited by the police during the interrogation.

On the night of January 19, 1960, petitioner's brother-in-law was fatally shot. In the early hours of the next morning, at 2:30 a.m., petitioner was arrested without a warrant and interrogated. Petitioner made no statement to the police and was released at 5 that afternoon pursuant to a state court writ of habeas corpus obtained by Mr. Warren Wolfson, a lawyer who had been retained by petitioner.

On January 30, Benedict DiGerlando, who was then in police custody and who was later indicted for the murder along with petitioner, told the police that petitioner had fired the fatal shots. Between 8 and 9 that evening, petitioner and his sister, the widow of the deceased, were arrested and taken to police headquarters. En route to the police station, the police 'had handcuffed the defendant behind his back,' and 'one of the arresting officers told defendant that DiGerlando had named him as the one who shot' the deceased. Petitioner testified, without contradiction, that the 'detective said they had us pretty well, up pretty tight, and we might as well admit to this crime,' and that he replied, 'I am sorry but I would like to have advice from my lawyer.' A police officer testified that although petitioner was not formally charged 'he was in custody' and 'couldn't walk out the door.'

Page 480

Shortly after petitioner reached police headquarters, his retained lawyer arrived. The lawyer described the ensuing events in the following terms:

'On that day I received a phone call (from 'the mother of another defendant') and pursuant to that phone call I went to the Detective Bureau at 11th and State. The first person I talked to was the Sergeant on duty at the Bureau Desk, Sergeant Pidgeon. I asked Sergeant Pidgeon for permission to speak to my client, Danny Escobedo. * * * Sergeant Pidgeon made a call to the Bureau lockup and informed me that the boy had been taken from the lockup to the Homicide Bureau. This was between 9:30 and 10:00 in the evening. Before I went anywhere, he called the Homicide Bureau and told them there was an attorney waiting to see Escobedo. He told me I could not see him. Then I went upstairs to the Homicide Bureau. There were several Homicide Detectives around and I talked to them. I identified myself as Escobedo's attorney and asked permission to see him. They said I could not. * * * The police officer told me to see Chief Flynn who was on duty. I identified myself to Chief Flynn and asked permission to see my client. He said I could not. * * * I think it was approximately 11:00 o'clock. He said I couldn't see him because they hadn't completed questioning. * * * (F)or a second or two I spotted him in an office in the Homicide Bureau. The door was open and I could see through the office. * * * I waved to him and he waved back and then the door was closed, by one of the officers at Homicide.1 There were four or five officers milling

Page 481

around the Homicide Detail that night. As to whether I talked to Captain Flynn any later that day, I waited around for another hour or two and went back again and renewed by (sic) request to see my client. He again told me I could not. * * * I filed an official complaint with Commissioner Phelan of the Chicago Police Department. I had a conversation with every police officer I could find. I was told at Homicide that I couldn't see him and I would have to get a writ of habeas corpus. I left the Homicide Bureau and from the Detective Bureau at 11th and State at approximately 1:00 A.M. (Sunday morning) I had no opportunity to talk to my client that night. I quoted to Captain Flynn the Section of the Criminal Code which allows an attorney the right to see his client.'2

Petitioner testified that during the course of the interrogation he repeatedly asked to speak to his lawyer and that the police said that his lawyer 'didn't want to see' him. The testimony of the police officers confirmed these accounts in substantial detail.

Notwithstanding repeated requests by each, petitioner and his retained lawyer were afforded no opportunity to consult during the course of the entire interrogation. At one point, as previously noted, petitioner and his attorney came into each other's view for a few moments but the attorney was quickly ushered away. Petitioner testified 'that he heard a detective telling the attorney the latter would not be allowed to talk to (him) 'until they

Page 482

were done" and that he heard the attorney being refused permission to remain in the adjoining room. A police officer testified that he had told the lawyer that he could not see petitioner until 'we were through interrogating' him.

There is testimony by the police that during the interrogation, petitioner, a 22-year-old of Mexican extraction with no record of previous experience with the police, 'was handcuffed'3 in a standing position and that he 'was nervous, he had circles under his eyes and he was upset' and was 'agitated' because 'he had not slept well in over a week.'

It is undisputed that during the course of the interrogation Officer Montejano, who 'grew up' in petitioner's neighborhood, who knew his family, and who uses 'Spanish language in (his) police work,' conferred alone with petitioner 'for about a quarter of an hour * * *.' Petitioner testified that the officer said to him 'in Spanish that my sister and I could go home if I pinned it on Benedict DiGerlando,' that 'he would see to it that we would go home and be held only as witnesses, if anything, if we had made a statement against DiGerlando * * *, that we would be able to go home that night.' Petitioner testified that he made the statement in issue because of this assurance. Officer Montejano denied offering any such assurance.

A police officer testified that during the interrogation the following occurred:

'I informed him of what DiGerlando told me and when I did, he told me that DiGerlando was (lying) and I said, 'Would you care to tell DiGerlando that?' and he said, 'Yes, I will.' So, I

Page 483

brought * * * Escobedo in and he confronted DiGerlando and he told him that he was lying and said, 'I didn't shoot Manuel, you did it."

In this way, petitioner, for the first time admitted to some knowledge of the crime. After that he made additional statements further implicating himself in the murder plot. At this point an Assistant State's Attorney, Theodore J. Cooper, was summoned 'to take' a statement. Mr. Cooper, an experienced lawyer who was assigned to the Homicide Division to take 'statements from some defendants and some prisoners that they had in custody,' 'took' petitioner's statement by asking carefully framed questions apparently designed to assure the admissibility into evidence of the resulting answers. Mr. Cooper testified that he did not advise petitioner of his constitutional rights, and it is undisputed that no one during the course of the interrogation so advised him.

Petitioner moved both before and during trial to suppress the incriminating statement, but the motions were denied. Petitioner was co victed of murder and he appealed the conviction.

The Supreme Court of Illinois, in its original opinion of February 1, 1963, held the statement inadmissible and reversed the conviction. The court said:

'(I)t seems manifest to us, from the undisputed evidence and the circumstances surrounding defendant at the time of his statement and shortly prior thereto, that the defendant understood he would be permitted to go home if he gave the statement and would be granted an immunity from prosecution.'

Compare Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528, 83 S.Ct. 917, 9 L.Ed.2d 922.

The State petitioned for, and the court granted, rehearing. The court then affirmed the conviction. It said: '(T)he

Page 484

officer denied making the promise and the trier of fact believed him. We find no reason for disturbing the trial court's finding that the confession was voluntary.'4 28 Ill.2d 41, 45—46, 190 N.E.2d 825, 827. The court also held, on the authority of this Court's decisions in Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287, 2 L.Ed.2d 1448, and Cicenia v. LaGay, 357 U.S. 504, 78 S.Ct. 1297, 2 L.Ed.2d 1523, that the confession was admissible even though 'it was obtained after he had requested the assistance of counsel, which request was denied.' 28 Ill.2d, at 46, 190 N.E.2d, at 827. We granted a writ of certiorari to consider whether the petitioner's statement was constitutionally admissible at his trial. 375 U.S. 902, 84 S.Ct. 203, 11 L.Ed.2d 143. We conclude, for the reasons stated below, that it was not and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of conviction.

In Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, this Court observed that 'a Constitution which guarantees a defendant the aid of counsel at * * * trial could surely vouchsafe no less to an indicted defendant under interrogation by the police in a completely extrajudicial proceeding. Anything less * * * might deny a defendant 'effective...

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4319 practice notes
  • Ahmad v. Wigen, No. 89-CV-715.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • September 26, 1989
    ...the admission of confessions obtained through offensive police methods even if the statements are reliable. See Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964) and its progeny. Essentially the Israeli law resembles the American law of confessions as it existed prior......
  • United States ex rel. Miner v. Erickson, No. 19977.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1970
    ...(Supp.1960). All this echoes the general law. Carter v. Illinois, 329 U.S. 173, 67 S.Ct. 216, 91 L.Ed. 172 (1946); Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 490 n. 14, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964); Butler v. United States, 317 F.2d 249, 258 (8 Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 375 U.S. 836, 838, ......
  • Miller v. Fenton, No. 83-5530
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • September 28, 1984
    ...Court's well-known decisions in Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, 12 L.Ed.2d 246 (1964), and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964)--pressing the sixth amendment right to counsel into service to protect the privilege against self-incrim......
  • Davis v. Burke, No. 16728.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 2, 1969
    ...factual basis. For example, the petitioner made no request for counsel which was deliberately denied as in Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977, and Spano v. People of State of New York, 1959, 360 U.S. 315, 79 S.Ct. 1202, 3 L.Ed.2d 1265. He was not duped a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4306 cases
  • Ahmad v. Wigen, No. 89-CV-715.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • September 26, 1989
    ...the admission of confessions obtained through offensive police methods even if the statements are reliable. See Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964) and its progeny. Essentially the Israeli law resembles the American law of confessions as it existed prior......
  • United States ex rel. Miner v. Erickson, No. 19977.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1970
    ...(Supp.1960). All this echoes the general law. Carter v. Illinois, 329 U.S. 173, 67 S.Ct. 216, 91 L.Ed. 172 (1946); Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 490 n. 14, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964); Butler v. United States, 317 F.2d 249, 258 (8 Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 375 U.S. 836, 838, ......
  • Miller v. Fenton, No. 83-5530
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • September 28, 1984
    ...Court's well-known decisions in Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, 12 L.Ed.2d 246 (1964), and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964)--pressing the sixth amendment right to counsel into service to protect the privilege against self-incrim......
  • Davis v. Burke, No. 16728.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 2, 1969
    ...factual basis. For example, the petitioner made no request for counsel which was deliberately denied as in Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977, and Spano v. People of State of New York, 1959, 360 U.S. 315, 79 S.Ct. 1202, 3 L.Ed.2d 1265. He was not duped a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 books & journal articles
  • Rethinking Police Expertise.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 2, November 2021
    • November 1, 2021
    ...of False Confessions, 62 STAN. L. REV. 1051,1097-98 (2010). (114.) Simon-Kerr, supra note 104, at 630. (115.) Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478,488-89 (1964) (quoting 8 JOHN HENRY WIGMORE, A TREA-TISE ON THE ANGLO-AMERICAN SYSTEM OF EVIDENCE IN TRIALS AT COMMON LAW 309 (3d ed. 1940)); see ......
  • Two Rights Collide: Determining When Attorney-Client Privilege Should Yield to a Defendant’s Right to Compulsory Process or Confrontation
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Nbr. 58-2, April 2021
    • April 1, 2021
    ...to Counsel as a Tool for Regulating Confession Law, 97 B.U. L. REV. 1085, 1092 (2017). 144. Id. at 1101 (quoting Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 486 (1964)). 145. See Cunningham & Srader, supra note 30, at 319. 146. See United States v. Rainone, 32 F.3d 1203, 1206 (7th Cir. 1994) (expla......
  • POLITICAL TRUST, SOCIAL TRUST, AND JUDICIAL REVIEW.
    • United States
    • Constitutional Commentary Vol. 36 Nbr. 2, September 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    ...U.S. 254 (1964) (absent a showing of actual malice, First Amendment bars defamation lawsuits by public officials); Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964) (Sixth Amendment protects right to counsel during police interrogations); Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89 (1964) (if arrest not supported by......
  • Recent Legal Developments
    • United States
    • International Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 19-4, December 2009
    • December 1, 2009
    ...59548/00, judgment of January 17, 2008.Donskov v. Russia, HRC no. 1149/2002, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/93/D/1149/2002 (2008).Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964).Gekhayeva v. Russia, ECtHR no. 1755/04, judgment of May 29, 2008.Gra˘dinar v. Moldova, ECtHR no. 7170/02, judgment of April 8, 2008.G......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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