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Patterson v. Illinois

United States Supreme Court
487 U.S. 285 (1988)



Patterson (defendant) was one of three gang members who were indicted for the murder of a rival gang member. Before being transferred to the county jail, Patterson asked one of the police officers who else had been indicted for the murder. Upon hearing that one of his fellow gang members had not been charged, Patterson voiced his surprise, stating that the man omitted had planned everything and that there was a witness who could prove it. At this point, the officer stopped Patterson and handed him a Miranda waiver form to inform him of his right to counsel and his right to remain silent. Patterson signed the form and then told the officer about killing the rival gang member, making incriminating statements about himself. Later, Patterson was interviewed by the Assistant State’s Attorney. The attorney went over the Miranda form Patterson had signed earlier and Patterson said he understood his rights. Patterson then made more incriminating statements. Before trial, Patterson moved to have his statements suppressed. The trial court denied Patterson’s motion and the jury convicted him. The state supreme court then rejected Patterson’s theory that he knowingly and intelligently waived his Fifth Amendment right to counsel but not his Sixth Amendment right. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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