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CJ305: Legal Foundations of Criminal Evidence Welcome to Unit 6! Instructor: K. Austin Zimmer, J.D. Make sure you adjust your speakers and audio settings on your computer so you can hear the music.
The Distinction Between a Confession and an Admission According to one court: A confession is an admission of the crime itself. An admission concerns only some specific fact which, in turn, tends to establish guilt or some element of the offense.
Admissions Statements or acts by an accused before trial that are not an acknowledgment of guilt, but do link the accused with a crime or are in some ways incriminating, are admissions. The accused need not intend to incriminate himself or herself for the statement or act to be an admission. An admission may be a simple acknowledgment of being at the crime scene, of being acquainted with the victim of a crime, or even a denial that the defendant was at the scene.
Confessions In the twentieth century, the United States Supreme Court developed the exclusionary rule and continues to develop complex and strict rules pertaining to the admissibility of confessions in evidence.
Free and Voluntary For a confession to have been freely and voluntarily made, the person making the confession must have been in a position to exercise complete mental freedom at the time the confession was made. The courts have been strict in their interpretation of what will affect this “complete mental freedom” and have ruled that pressure applied to induce a confession will be considered as an interference with mental freedom and cause the confession to be excluded from evidence at trial.
Miranda v. Arizona Miranda requires the police to warn a suspect in custody: of his or her right to remain silent that anything the suspect says might be used in court against the suspect that the suspect has the right to have counsel present during questioning that counsel will be appointed for the suspect if the suspect cannot afford counsel
Violation of Miranda In the absence of these Miranda warnings and a waiver of the rights to remain silent and to counsel during police interrogation, any statement obtained by the police cannot be used against the accused at trial, even if the statement is not coerced.
Confessions Excluded Due to Violation of Due Process of Law: Coerced Confessions A coerced confession could be unreliable! Even if the confession is reliable, it should be excluded from evidence because the police should “obey the law while enforcing the law.”
The Totality of the Cirumstances Underlying all of the reasons for excluding a coerced confession is the fundamental requirement that a confession must be freely and voluntarily given. The test for voluntariness, according to the Supreme Court of the United States, is the totality of the circumstances.
Exclusion of Confessions Due to Violation of Rights Secured under Miranda v. Arizona Perhaps no legal decision is more widely known by people in all walks of life than Miranda v. Arizona—the case that imposed the requirement that police give warnings to criminal suspects of their rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning.
Miranda Rule The Miranda rule requires that a law enforcement officer read Miranda warnings to a suspect before custodial interrogation. The officer must advise the suspect that the suspect has the right to remain silent, that anything the suspect says can and will be used against the suspect at trial, that the suspect has a right to an attorney being present during questioning, and that if the suspect cannot afford an attorney, one can be provided at no cost to the suspect.
Translators Should Administer Warnings in the Language Other Than English In those situations where the officer is faced with a suspect who either does not speak English or where English is a second language, a different problem is presented.
What Constitutes Custody for Purposes of Miranda? Custody results when a police officer restrains a person in such a way consistent with formal arrest, regardless of the situation or intent of the officer. Anytime a person is taken into custody, the officer is required to give Miranda warnings.
The Formula Custody + Questioning = Miranda + Waiver
What Constitutes Interrogation for Purposes of Miranda? When an officer has a suspect in custody and specifically asks him or her direct questions about the incident under investigation, the officer is engaged in interrogation within the meaning of the Miranda rule.
What Constitutes a Valid Waiver of Miranda Rights? In the Miranda decision, the Supreme Court stated that the prosecution has a “heavy burden” of proof that any claimed waiver of rights by an accused was made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.
What Constitutes a Valid Waiver After a Suspect Asserts His or Her Rights? State of Mind The Court stated that if a suspect, prior to or during interrogation, indicates in any manner that “he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease.” Likewise, the Court said that if an individual says that “he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present.”
Exceptions to the Miranda Rule Public safety exception Routine booking questions exception Undercover police questioner exception
Pennsylvania v. Muniz The Justices concluded that questions posed to an arrestee during booking, such as those relating to name, address, weight, eye color, date of birth, and age are within a “routine booking question” exception, “which exempts from Miranda's coverage questions to secure the ‘biographical data necessary to complete booking or pretrial services.’”
Illinois v. Perkins The Court held that “an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a fellow inmate need not give Miranda warnings to an incarcerated suspect before asking questions that may elicit an incriminating response.” The Court said that “[p]loys to mislead a suspect or lull him into a false sense of security that do not rise to the level of compulsion or coercion to speak are not within Miranda's concerns.”
Procedure for Introduction of Confessions A confession is usually introduced through the testimony of the officer to whom it was made.
Any Questions?? Remember the Unit 6 paper!
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