Duckworth v. Eagan

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Duckworth v. Eagan
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 29, 1989
Decided June 26, 1989
Full case name Jack R. Duckworth v. Gary James Eagan
Citations 492 U.S. 195 (more)
109 S.Ct. 2875, 106 L.Ed.2d 166
Informing a suspect that an attorney would be appointed for him "if and when you go to court" does not render Miranda warnings inadequate.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Rehnquist, joined by White, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy
Concurrence O'Connor, joined by Scalia
Dissent Marshall, joined by Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens

Duckworth v. Eagan, 492 U.S. 195 (1989), was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with police behavior when issuing the Miranda warning. The Court's decision was seen as weakening the Miranda protections.[1]


After being questioned in regards to the stabbing of a woman, Gary Eagan was improperly read his Miranda Rights when police told him that he would be provided a lawyer "if and when you go to court." During the police investigation, Eagan did not make any incriminating statements, and waived his Miranda rights. The next day, Eagan was questioned again by police, and signed a waiver with the correct Miranda language. During the interrogation, Eagan confessed to the stabbing of the woman and revealed physical evidence of the crime committed. Later, Eagan claimed that the difference between the language in the first waiver he signed, and the second waiver he signed, made his confession inadmissible in a court of law.[2]


Rehnquist wrote the decision for the court.[3] The Supreme Court held that it was not necessary that the warnings be given in the exact form described in the Miranda decision (See 'Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436[4]), provided the warnings as a whole fully informed the suspect of his or her rights.[5]


  1. ^ "Library/Abstracts". National Council Justice Referral Service. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Duckworth v. Eagan 492 U.S. 195". Oyez: US Supreme Court Media. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Duckworth V. Eagan, 492 U. S. 195 (1989)". Justia. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Miranda. v. Arizona 384 US 436 (1966)". Oyez. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  5. ^ (Chapter 5, page 141 of Criminal Investigation "Suspect's Response: Waiver And Alternatives; #4)

Further reading[edit]

  • Swanson; Chamelin; Territo; Taylor (2012). Criminal Investigation (Eleventh ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780078111525. 

External links[edit]