Consequences of Police Not Allowing a Lawyer Access to His Client
In People v. McCauley, 163 Ill. 2d 414, 645 N.E.2d 923, 206 Ill. Dec. 671 (1994) the Supreme Court held that where the defendant's attorney came to the police station where the defendant was held while under interrogation, the refusal of the police to allow the attorney access to the defendant or to tell the defendant that the attorney was present violated the defendant's right to counsel under the Illinois Constitution.
The police in McCauley brought the defendant to the police station and began to interview him, after advising him of his Miranda rights.
The defendant did not ask for a lawyer or state that his family would procure one for him.
The defendant's attorney testified that he was contacted by the defendant's family; he proceeded to the police station and asked to see the defendant.
A police officer refused to allow him to see the defendant and also refused to tell the defendant that he was at the police station.
The police officer testified that he did not refuse to allow the attorney access to the defendant.
The trial court found that the attorney was credible and that the police officer was not.
Accordingly, the court suppressed the inculpatory statement which the defendant made during interrogation.
On appeal, the court held that while the defendant's right to counsel under the United States Constitution was not violated, the motion to suppress was properly granted because the police violated the defendant's rights under the Illinois Constitution.
The court stated that:
"Regardless of the United States Supreme Court's current views on waiver of the right to counsel under the Federal Constitution, the law in Illinois remains that 'where police, prior to or during custodial interrogation, refuse an attorney appointed or retained to assist a suspect access to the suspect, there can be no knowing waiver of the right to counsel if the suspect has not been informed that the attorney was present and seeking to consult with him.'" McCauley, 163 Ill. 2d at 424-5.
The court also stated that:
"Our State constitutional guarantees simply do not permit police to delude custodial suspects, exposed to interrogation, into falsely believing that they are without immediately available legal counsel and to also prevent that counsel from accessing and assisting their clients during the interrogation." McCauley, 163 Ill. 2d at 423-4.
Thus under McCauley, the police may not deny an attorney access to his client during custodial interrogation and may not refuse to inform a suspect undergoing such interrogation that there is legal counsel immediately available to him.