United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Criminal Procedure — right to counsel
Where a suspect said, “Can you call my attorney,” he unambiguously invoked his right to counsel.
“Like Hampton, we find that considering the prior context of Hunter’s statement in the present case supports our close textual reading of Hunter’s statement in Sections III and IV. In those sections, we noted that Hunter used decisive language like the word ‘can’—as opposed to indecisive words like ‘should’—indicating that Hunter’s request, ‘Can you call my attorney?’ was inherently unambiguous. Hunter’s request becomes particularly unambiguous when read in light of what had occurred previously. Hunter asked Detective Karzin, ‘Can you call my attorney?’ only after he had been arrested, handcuffed to a hospital gurney, read his Miranda rights, and asked if he wanted to speak to a police detective. Moreover, Hunter’s request to Detective Karzin followed his statement that he wanted ‘a minute to think’ before he talked about the shooting and came on the heels of his inquiry whether police had him for being a felon in possession of a firearm. With everything that happened prior to Hunter asking Detective Karzin to call his attorney, the context lends further support to our conclusion that Hunter’s request for counsel was unambiguous.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Mihm, J., Tinder, J.