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Duckworth v. Eagan

United States Supreme Court
492 U.S. 195 (1989)



Eagan (defendant) attacked a woman and reported finding her body to police. When Eagan led police to the location, the woman recognized Eagan. Eagan claimed several men had abducted the woman. The case was handed off to the police department with jurisdiction. Before interrogating Eagan, police read a waiver form that advised him of his rights to remain silent and to consult with an attorney, but stated that “[the department has] no way of giving you a lawyer, but one will be appointed for you…if and when you go to court.” Eagan signed the waiver and repeated his story. Eagan was taken into custody and interrogated again the next day after reading a different Miranda waiver. Eagan confessed. The trial court admitted Eagan’s statements over his objection. Eagan was found guilty of attempted murder by a jury and sentenced to 35 years in prison. The appellate court affirmed. Eagan petitioned the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that the waiver form was defective and the confession should not have been admitted. The district court denied the petition, but the court of appeals reversed because the waiver did not clearly convey Eagan’s right to consult with an attorney before the interrogation. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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