Should Police Questioning Stop Once Defendant Has Asked for a Lawyer to Be Present ?
In People v. Eichwedel, 247 Ill. App. 3d 393, 617 N.E.2d 345, 187 Ill. Dec. 137 (1993), the defendant asked if he could call Jeff Williams, his noncriminal attorney. Eichwedel, 247 Ill. App. 3d at 396.
Instead of ceasing the questioning, the officer asked the defendant if he knew a criminal attorney, to which the defendant stated that he did not and asked what would happen if he called a criminal attorney. Eichwedel, 247 Ill. App. 3d at 395-96.
The officer explained that the defendant would be processed and taken to the Cook County jail and that, if he chose not to call a criminal attorney, he would sign a Miranda waiver form and the interview would continue. Eichwedel, 247 Ill. App. 3d at 396.
The appellate court determined that once the defendant asked to call his attorney, the questioning should have ceased because the defendant's request was a sufficient invocation of his right to counsel. Eichwedel, 247 Ill. App. 3d at 397-98.
Thus, it reversed the trial court's denial of the defendant's suppression motion. Eichwedel, 247 Ill. App. 3d at 399.
Similarly, the appellate court affirmed a suppression in People v. Howerton, 335 Ill. App. 3d 1023, 782 N.E.2d 942, 270 Ill. Dec. 383 (2003).
In Howerton, the defendant was taken into custody by police and he stated that if he was under arrest, then the police should take him "upstairs" or he wanted a lawyer. Howerton, 335 Ill. App. 3d at 1024.
Rather than terminating the interview, the officers continued to badger the defendant, who five more times indicated that he wanted a lawyer, until he answered the questions. Howerton, 335 Ill. App. 3d at 1026.
The appellate court determined that the only reasonable interpretation of defendant's remarks was that he was invoking his right to counsel from the moment he stated that he wanted a lawyer or to be taken "upstairs." Howerton, 335 Ill. App. 3d at 1026-27;
See also Smith, 469 U.S. at 93, 83 L. Ed. 2d at 492, 105 S. Ct. at 491 (Supreme Court held that the defendant sufficiently invoked his right to counsel when in response to whether he understood that he had the right to an attorney's presence during questioning, the defendant stated " 'Uh, yeah. I'd like to do that' ").