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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.[1] The case was decided a year after the court had held in Gideon v. Wainwright that indigent criminal defendants had a right to be provided counsel at trial.[2]

Escobedo v. Illinois
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued April 29, 1964
Decided June 22, 1964
Full case nameEscobedo v. Illinois
Citations378 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
Case history
PriorDefendant 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.
Subsequentreversed and remanded
If a police investigation begins to focus on a particular suspect who has been refused counsel, his statements to police are excluded.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · William O. Douglas
Tom C. Clark · John M. Harlan II
William J. Brennan Jr. · Potter Stewart
Byron White · Arthur Goldberg
Case opinions
MajorityGoldberg, joined by Warren, Black, Douglas, Brennan
DissentWhite, joined by Stewart, Clark
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amends. VI, XIV


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 indicating 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.[3] Illinois petitioned for rehearing, and the court then affirmed the conviction. Escobedo appealed to the US Supreme Court.[4] The ACLU argued before the Court as amicus curiae favoring Escobedo in a 5-4 decision.[5][6]

Later developmentsEdit

This holding was later implicitly overruled by Miranda v. Arizona in 1966, 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.[7][8][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964).
  2. ^ Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).
  3. ^ Gary R. Hartman; Roy M. Mersky; Cindy L. Tate (14 May 2014). Landmark Supreme Court Cases: The Most Influential Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. Infobase Publishing. pp. 159–. ISBN 978-1-4381-1036-3.
  4. ^ Callie Marie Rennison; Mary Dodge (6 January 2015). Introduction to Criminal Justice: Systems, Diversity, and Change. SAGE Publications. pp. 163–. ISBN 978-1-4833-1145-6.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Livingston Hall (1969). Modern Criminal Procedure: Cases, Comments, and Questions. West Publishing Company.
  7. ^ Mitchel P. Roth (2 June 2010). Crime and Punishment: A History of the Criminal Justice System. Cengage Learning. pp. 281–. ISBN 978-0-495-80988-3.
  8. ^ Joan Biskupic; Elder Witt (1997). The Supreme Court and individual rights. Congressional Quarterly.
  9. ^ Paul Ruschmann (2007). Miranda Rights. Infobase Publishing. pp. 106–. ISBN 978-1-4381-0610-6.

Further readingEdit

  • 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.

External linksEdit