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Illinois v. Perkins


In Illinois v. Perkins, the Court recognized limitations to the rule announced in Miranda. Perkins was an example of a custodial interrogation that created no compulsion. Since Miranda was not intended to protect individuals from themselves, the Court held there was no need to advise Perkins of his Miranda rights prior to his conversation with an undercover police officer. This decision allowed law enforcement to use undercover agents in a jail without necessitating the giving of Miranda warnings to the suspect.

Richard Stephenson was murdered in November of 1984 in a suburb of East St. Louis, Illinois. His murder remained unsolved until March of 1986, when Donald Charlton told police that Lloyd Perkins had confessed to the murder while the two were in jail together at the Graham Correctional Facility. By this time, Perkins was in a different jail on a charge of aggravated battery, not connected to the Stephenson murder. The police decided to place an undercover agent in the cellblock with Perkins and Charlton. John Parisi, the undercover agent, and Charlton posed as escapees from a work release program whom had been arrested for burglary. While in the same cellblock with Perkins, Parisi suggested that the three of them try to escape from the jail. While discussing the escape plan, Parisi asked Perkins if he had ever killed anyone. Perkins described Stephenson's murder. Parisi asked more questions about the murder, including what type of weapon was used.

Perkins was charged with the murder, but before the trial, he asked that the evidence of his statements made to Parisi in jail be suppressed (not allowed in court) on the ground that Parisi had not given him the Miranda warnings before their conversations. The trial court granted the motion to suppress. The Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the ruling, stating that Miranda prohibits all undercover contacts with incarcerated suspects that are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Illinois v. Perkins - Significance, A Coercive Atmosphere Is Lacking, Deception And Manipulation Practiced, Compulsion Includes Police Deception