The defendant agreed to go to the police station to discuss a stabbing. The officer read the defendant a form purporting to be his Miranda rights. The defendant signed the form which contained all required Miranda warnings but which said “You have this right to the advice and presence of a lawyer even if you cannot afford to hire one. We have no way of giving you a lawyer, but one will be appointed for you if you wish, if and when you go to court.” The defendant claimed his innocence but was taken into custody. Twenty-nine hours later, he was interrogated and confessed after reading and signing a warning without the conditional provision previously added.
Whether informing a suspect that an attorney would be appointed for him “if and when you go to court” renders the Miranda warnings inadequate?
No. The law only requires that the suspect be informed that he has the right to an attorney before and during questioning, and that an attorney would be appointed for him if he could not afford one.
The Miranda decision required that certain warnings be given as a prerequisite to the admissibility of a custodial statement. However, the Court has never held that these must be given in the form set forth in the Miranda case. That form or a fully effective equivalent is sufficient. Miranda compliance does not require that attorneys be produced on call, but only that the suspect be informed, as he was here, that he has the right to an attorney before and during questioning, and that an attorney would be appointed for him if he could not afford one. If a law enforcement officer cannot provide appointed counsel, Miranda requires only that the officer not question a suspect unless he waives his right to counsel.
492 U.S. 195, 109 S. Ct. 2875 (1989)