Escobedo v. Illinois
378 U.S. 478, 84 S. Ct. 1758, 12 L. Ed.2d 977 (1964)

  • Escobedo’s brother-in-law was killed. The police suspected Escobedo and took him into custody. He got a lawyer, made no statement and was released.
  • A few days later the police arrested another guy, DiGerlando, who implicated himself and Escobedo in the murder.
  • The police rearrested Escobedo and interrogated him without his lawyer present, despite the fact that Escobedo asked to see his lawyer (although this stage he was not yet indicted). Escobedo made some incriminating statements that were used against him at trial.
    • The lawyer tried to get in to see Escobedo but the police refused the request.
  • The Trial Court convicted Escobedo of murder. He appealed.
  • The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the conviction. Escobedo appealed.
  • The US Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
    • The US Supreme Court found that the denial of counsel is not allowed under the 6th Amendment.
      • The Court noted that the purpose of the interrogation was to get Escobedo to confess to a crime even though he had a 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. If his lawyer was present, Escobedo would have been aware of his rights.
    • The Court looked to Gideon v. Wainright (372 U.S. 335 (1963)), which established that the accused has the right to counsel. The Court felt that the counsel was not present during the interrogation, the accused might make self-incriminating statements that were so damaging as to make a trial pointless.
  • In a dissent it was argued that Escobedo had not been indicted. To allow unindicted people to demand a lawyer would excessively tie the hands of law enforcement, and is not required by the Constitution.