Escobedo v. Illinois
|Escobedo v. Illinois|
|Argued April 29, 1964
Decided June 22, 1964
|Full case name||Escobedo v. Illinois|
|Citations||378 U.S. 478 (more)
84 S. Ct. 1758; 12 L. Ed. 2d 977; 1964 U.S. LEXIS 827; 4 Ohio Misc. 197; 32 Ohio Op. 2d 31
|Prior history||Defendant convicted in Cook County criminal court; Illinois Supreme Court held statement inadmissible and reversed, February 1, 1963; on petition for rehearing, Illinois Supreme Court affirmed conviction, 28 Ill. 2d 41; cert. granted, 375 U.S. 902|
|Subsequent history||reversed and remanded|
|Where a police investigation begins to focus on a particular suspect who has been refused counsel, his statements to police are excluded.|
|Majority||Goldberg, joined by Warren, Black, Douglas, Brennan|
|Dissent||White, joined by Stewart, Clark|
|U.S. Const., Amends. VI and XIV|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964), was a United States Supreme Court case holding that criminal suspects have a right to counsel during police interrogations under the Sixth Amendment. The case was decided a year after the court held in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963) that indigent criminal defendants had a right to be provided counsel at trial.
Danny Escobedo's brother-in-law, Manuel Valtierra, was shot and killed on the night of January 19, 1960. Escobedo was arrested without a warrant early the next morning and interrogated. However, Escobedo made no statement to the police and was released that afternoon. Subsequently, Benedict DiGerlando, who was in custody and considered another suspect, told the police that indeed Escobedo fired the fatal shots because the victim had mistreated Escobedo's sister. On January 30, again, the police arrested Escobedo and his sister, Grace. While transporting them to the police station, the police explained that DiGerlando had implicated Escobedo, and urged him and Grace to confess. Escobedo again declined. Escobedo asked to speak to his attorney, but the police refused, explaining that although he was not formally charged yet, he was in custody and could not leave. His attorney went to the police station and repeatedly asked to see his client, but was repeatedly refused access. Police and prosecutors proceeded to interrogate Escobedo for fourteen and a half hours and repeatedly refused his request to speak with his attorney. While being interrogated, Escobedo made statements implicating his knowledge of the crime. After conviction for murder, Escobedo appealed on the basis of being denied the right to counsel.
Escobedo appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which initially held the confession inadmissible and reversed the conviction. Illinois petitioned for rehearing and the court then affirmed the conviction. Escobedo appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU argued before the Court as amicus curiae favoring Escobedo.
The court's decision
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court overturned Escobedo's conviction and recognized a suspect's right to an attorney during police interrogation. Writing for the majority, Justice Arthur Goldberg viewed the police interrogation in this case as more of an interrogation of a specific suspect than a general questioning of witnesses. As such, he held the distinction between pre- and post-indictment to be immaterial, since the police and prosecutor elicited a confession after they had already gotten the damning statement necessary to indict Escobedo. To hold otherwise, wrote Goldberg, would be to "exalt form over substance". The court had already recognized a right to counsel after indictment in Gideon v. Wainwright. Extending that precedent, it interpreted the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of a right to counsel as applying to defendants from the time they become primary suspects.
Justice Potter Stewart's dissent essentially accused the majority of conflating the formal difference between pre and post-indictment questioning. Justice Byron White's dissent began with his disagreement about the applicability of cited precedent. He also criticized the majority's Constitutional interpretation.
This holding was later implicitly overruled by Miranda v. Arizona, and the Supreme Court held that pre-indictment interrogations violate the Fifth Amendment, not the Sixth Amendment. As Escobedo was questioned during a custodial interrogation, the result for the appellant would have been the same.
- List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 378
- Miranda v. Arizona
- Gideon v. Wainwright
- R. v. Brydges
- Block, Richard L. (1971). "Fear of Crime and Fear of the Police". Social Problems 19 (1): 91–101. doi:10.1525/sp.1971.19.1.03a00070.
- Romans, Neil T. (1974). "The Role of State Supreme Courts in Judicial Policy Making: Escobedo, Miranda and the Use of Judicial Impact Analysis". The Western Political Quarterly (University of Utah) 27 (1): 38–59. doi:10.2307/446394. JSTOR 446394.