Duckworth v. Eagan

LOCATION: Hammond Police Station

DOCKET NO.: 88-317
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 492 US 195 (1989)
ARGUED: Mar 29, 1989
DECIDED: Jun 26, 1989

David Michael Wallman - Argued the cause for the petitioner
Howard B. Eisenberg - By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the respondent
Michael R. Lazerwitz - Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal

Facts of the case

When first questioned by police about the stabbing of a woman, suspect Gary Eagan did not make incriminating statements after signing a waiver and being told he would be provided a lawyer "if and when you go to court." The following day, after Eagan was questioned again and signed a different waiver, he confessed to the stabbing and revealed physical evidence of the crime. Eagan later claimed that the language of the first waiver made his confession inadmissible.


Did the first warning and waiver negate the constitutional protections required by Miranda v. Arizona?

Media for Duckworth v. Eagan

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 29, 1989 in Duckworth v. Eagan

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument next in No. 88-317 in Jack R. Duckworth versus Gary James Eagan.

We'll wait just a minute, Mr. Wallman, until the noise settles down a little.

Very well, Mr. Wallman.

David Michael Wallman:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

This case raises two issues in regard to two separate Mirandas utilized by the Hammond Police Department to effectuate an arrest in 1982.

The second issue raised in our cert petition this Court will not address or does not... has no need to address unless you find against the petitioning state in regard to the first issue.

The material facts in this case are relatively simple and not in serious dispute and are easily summarized.

In the early... or, the evening hours of May the 16th of 1982 the Respondent, Gary Eagan, along with some male friends, took a female victim from Chicago across the state line to Hammond, Indiana.

There they engaged in sexual activities with her which culminated in Respondent Eagan hitting her with a brick, stabbing her several times, leaving her at the scene naked and presumably dead.

When Respondent returned to Chicago, he contacted a police officer friend of his and fabricated a story as to finding a dead woman on the beach, took the police... or, the Chicago police officer across the state line to Indiana, to the scene of the crime where they found the victim who obviously was not dead, and at the scene she identified him and said,

"why did you stab me several times? "

The Chicago... the Hammond police met Eagan and the Chicago police at the scene, at which point Mr. Eagan returned to the Hammond Police Station and at 11:14 on May the 17th of 1982, after being given a Miranda, the Miranda at issue here, made an exculpatory statement, in essence repeating the story he had fabricated for the Chicago police.

The warning at issue here can be briefly read as follows.

"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 the right to talk to a lawyer for advise before we ask you any questions and to have him with you during questioning. "

"You have this right to the advise 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 talk to a lawyer. "

This warning was read by Mr. Eagan, was read to Mr. Eagan.

He did at the time indicate that he had no misunderstandings about it, at which point he gave the exculpatory statement.

The Seventh Circuit decided this Miranda was unduly confusing and was in violation of an earlier 1972 case that they had issued.

The Circuit was somehow concerned--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Is that because of the... the only problem in the view of the court below was this language of

"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? "

David Michael Wallman:

--That's correct, Justice O'Connor.


In our view, the--